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Legitimation, professionalisation and accountability in higher education studies: an intergenerational story

Legitimation, professionalisation and accountability in higher education studies: an intergenerational story
Legitimation, professionalisation and accountability in higher education studies: an intergenerational story
The core themes of research into higher education studies (HES) have previously been identified through quantitative approaches focused on publication patterns, but there is a lack of fine-grained, qualitative analysis about the development of the field. This paper provides an intergenerational analysis of the emergence of HES in the UK since the 1960s drawing on autobiographical accounts. It reveals that many who conduct HES research retain a strong sense of disciplinary affiliation and regard its continuing epistemological health as closely linked to maintaining open borders with other disciplines. The professionalisation of the field is regarded as a mixed blessing bringing with it challenges with respect to maintaining an accessible approach to scholarship and communication with public and policy audiences. HES provides a case example of how a new academic subfield has undergone generational challenges in, respectively, seeking legitimacy, being professionalised and most recently responding to greater demands for accountability.
Higher education studies, academic tribes and territories, sociology of science, autobiographical research, intergenerational analysis
0307-5079
1-11
Macfarlane, Bruce J.
3e2b9eb0-1772-4642-bb51-ab49cc5b748c
Burg, Damon
308af4dc-b388-47aa-b5cd-edbc4d130a6e
Macfarlane, Bruce J.
3e2b9eb0-1772-4642-bb51-ab49cc5b748c
Burg, Damon
308af4dc-b388-47aa-b5cd-edbc4d130a6e

Macfarlane, Bruce J. and Burg, Damon (2019) Legitimation, professionalisation and accountability in higher education studies: an intergenerational story. Studies in Higher Education, 1-11. (doi:10.1080/03075079.2017.1376640).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The core themes of research into higher education studies (HES) have previously been identified through quantitative approaches focused on publication patterns, but there is a lack of fine-grained, qualitative analysis about the development of the field. This paper provides an intergenerational analysis of the emergence of HES in the UK since the 1960s drawing on autobiographical accounts. It reveals that many who conduct HES research retain a strong sense of disciplinary affiliation and regard its continuing epistemological health as closely linked to maintaining open borders with other disciplines. The professionalisation of the field is regarded as a mixed blessing bringing with it challenges with respect to maintaining an accessible approach to scholarship and communication with public and policy audiences. HES provides a case example of how a new academic subfield has undergone generational challenges in, respectively, seeking legitimacy, being professionalised and most recently responding to greater demands for accountability.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 27 August 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 September 2017
Published date: 4 March 2019
Keywords: Higher education studies, academic tribes and territories, sociology of science, autobiographical research, intergenerational analysis

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419948
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419948
ISSN: 0307-5079
PURE UUID: 9bd30289-886a-431b-8340-f1515c1ae4c7

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Date deposited: 24 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 17:20

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Contributors

Author: Bruce J. Macfarlane
Author: Damon Burg

University divisions

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