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'Fitting in to the machine': Academics’ experiences of institutional (un)belonging in contemporary English higher education

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic Lecture/ Debate/Seminar


Research seminar delivered to the Centre for Public Policy Research at King's College London's lunchtime seminar series (online).


Using data from interviews with academic staff in English higher education (HE), this paper investigates experiences of (un)belonging through administrative (il)legibility in relation to a figure termed the ‘hegemonic academic'.

I contend that HE culture is dominated by competitiveness, that competitiveness is culturally associated with a highly-valued form of masculinity conceptualised by Connell and Messerschmidt (2005) as ‘hegemonic masculinity’, and demonstrate that in a neoliberalised HE environment defined by precarity and insecurity, the need to emulate the gendered ideal of the hegemonic academic becomes increasingly urgent not just to succeed but to survive.

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External organisation (Academic)

NameKing's College London
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom