Just ‘non-academics’?: research administrators and contested occupational identity

Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn (2006) Just ‘non-academics’?: research administrators and contested occupational identity. Work, Employment & Society, 20 (2). pp. 267-288. ISSN 0950-0170

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Full text URL: http://wes.sagepub.com/content/20/2/267.abstract

Abstract

Surprisingly perhaps, knowledge about occupational groups within academia is relatively scant, with an almost exclusive concentration upon teaching staff. The research upon which this article is based aims to fill this gap by focusing upon one specific group, which, to date, has been under-researched: research administrators. Utilizing primarily symbolic interactionist analyses, and based upon qualitative interviews, the project sought to investigate the occupational life-worlds of research administrators.The wide range of roles and divergent responsibilities covered by the title of ‘research administrator’ emerged as salient features, together with the boundary-crossing, ambiguous nature of much research administrative work.The article examines in particular the ‘identity work’ (Prus, 1996) undertaken by research administrators as they seek to resist categorization as ‘mere nonacademics’, and to counteract social invisibility. Administrative–academic relations were also found to constitute a core element within administrators' occupational life-worlds, and the article considers how the putative administrative/academic boundary is often problematized by research administrators.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Surprisingly perhaps, knowledge about occupational groups within academia is relatively scant, with an almost exclusive concentration upon teaching staff. The research upon which this article is based aims to fill this gap by focusing upon one specific group, which, to date, has been under-researched: research administrators. Utilizing primarily symbolic interactionist analyses, and based upon qualitative interviews, the project sought to investigate the occupational life-worlds of research administrators.The wide range of roles and divergent responsibilities covered by the title of ‘research administrator’ emerged as salient features, together with the boundary-crossing, ambiguous nature of much research administrative work.The article examines in particular the ‘identity work’ (Prus, 1996) undertaken by research administrators as they seek to resist categorization as ‘mere nonacademics’, and to counteract social invisibility. Administrative–academic relations were also found to constitute a core element within administrators' occupational life-worlds, and the article considers how the putative administrative/academic boundary is often problematized by research administrators.
Keywords:Identity, Identity work, Research administrators, Higher education, Academia
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:6568
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson
Deposited On:12 Oct 2012 20:27
Last Modified:12 Oct 2012 20:27

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