Dancing on the intersections of (un)acceptability: reflections/flextions on disengagement in higher education

Colosi, Rachela (2014) Dancing on the intersections of (un)acceptability: reflections/flextions on disengagement in higher education. In: The Entrepreneurial University: Engaging Publics, Intersecting Impacts. Palgrave. ISBN 9781137275868

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There is increasingly pressure for academic institutions to engage (diverse) ‘publics’ and work towards a more open and inclusive higher education. This inclusive approach is apparent in strategies for student recruitment, with attempts made by institutions to both attract and retain those from across intersections of society, diversifying the student population rather than limiting it to its traditional white middle-class demographic. In addition, in attempts to make higher education more inclusive, universities find new ways to engage ‘publics’ in different academic processes and practices. However, despite this, academia still remains fairly exclusive and even elitist; this differs between institutions and is dependent upon where each institution sits within the wider hierarchy of higher education. Elitism and exclusivity not only have implications for prospective students and ‘publics’- bringing into question some of academia’s ‘strategies of inclusion’, but there are also implications for prospective and active members of academic staff. In this context, this chapter specifically focuses on the role of the academic within higher education and the extent to which one’s background plays a role in shaping academic identity and academic membership. This chapter will also consider the hierarchy of higher education, evident by the implicit rules and rituals of different academic institutions. In addressing such issues I will draw on my own personal experiences of working and studying in academia, as an ex-lap-dancer, and discuss how my occupational background has often led me to question my academic identity, credibility and sense of belonging within the wider ‘academy’, leaving me feeling disengaged. By drawing on academic disengagement in this way, the extent to which academic institutions are truly zones of inclusion is brought into question, but this also addresses some of the wider issues about the types of ‘publics’ who are fostered in and out of academia.

Keywords:Higher Education, Publics
Subjects:L Social studies > L433 Education Policy
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:15301
Deposited On:07 Oct 2014 09:15

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