Tales from the road: reflections on power and disciplining within the academy
The postdoctoral fellowship has become an increasingly integral part of the young academic’s career development and is commonly recognised as beneficial to universities’ research cultures and publication profiles. However, there has been relatively little critical reflection on the postdoctoral experience. Through a self-reflexive autobiographical account of postdoctoral positionality I explore negotiations of the disciplining practices of the academy. In so doing, I consider competing understandings of the role(s) of postdoctoral fellows, the negotiations of differing academic cultures, and the ways in which forces of reproduction and initiation into the academy perpetuate the transgressive position of the postdoctoral fellow. The argument is made that postdoctoral fellows, particularly international fellows, are continually reinscribed as, simultaneously, an insider and outsider in the academic system, located in a double bind of absence which also offers a privileged moment through which to engage with and work across assumed divisions in the spaces and practices of knowledge production. Keywords: South Africa, academic citizenship, postdoctoral, Anglo-American hegemony, identity
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