The kitchen table: mother-academics reconfiguring their emerging identities while aligning family and work

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Mother-academics are disadvantaged by historical and systemic inequalities situated within academia which have been compounded by the pandemic. Through the analytical lens of the theory of practice architectures, we focus on work practices and women’s emotional experiences while reconfiguring their identities as online academics and simultaneously their changing home worlds due to the close proximity of their children at the kitchen table. Findings indicate that pre-COVID-19, boundaries between mothering and academia were delineated by the physicality of settings. In contrast, when forced to work from home during the pandemic, skilful navigation was required to obtain a home/work balance. Empathy was required to realign and locate a form of equilibrium in the merging online and home environment at the kitchen table. We contribute to the growing body of literature that advocates for academia to become a less gendered environment in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch and Teaching in a Pandemic World
Subtitle of host publicationThe Challenges of Establishing Academic Identities During Times of Crisis
EditorsBasil Cahusac de Caux, Lynette Pretorius, Luke Macaulay
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789811977572
ISBN (Print)9789811977565
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Academia
  • COVID-19
  • Empathy
  • Identity
  • Mother-academics
  • Mothers
  • Theory of practice architectures
  • Transformation

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