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Reframing power relationships between undergraduates and academics in the current university climate

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/01/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>British Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)127-142
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date23/12/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The undergraduate-academic power dynamic is being reframed in the current university climate. This article questions the research on power relationships within higher education whereby the dynamic is acknowledged without proper consideration. As such, the formation of power relationships remains unexplored and misunderstood. This article advocates a different approach to understanding power relationships within universities, one which seeks to unveil hidden mechanisms through a dialectical theorisation of systemic and constitutive power. It explores the ‘traditional’ power relationship between the social roles of teachers and learners, which is being reframed through the conflicting dynamics of the consumer-provider power relationship and the partnership power relationship. In this article, I use critical discourse analysis to explore 32 interviews, 12 observations and 12 documents from two post-1992 English universities. What was once considered a stable power dynamic is now under negotiation, creating confusion for undergraduates and academics regarding appropriate behaviour within universities. © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.