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Encountering precarity, uncertainty and everyday anxiety as part of the postgraduate research journey

Encountering precarity, uncertainty and everyday anxiety as part of the postgraduate research journey
Encountering precarity, uncertainty and everyday anxiety as part of the postgraduate research journey

Whilst there has been a recent rise in research within the social sciences which has sought to explore the topic of ‘precarity’, to date there has been very little discussion around the precarity inherent in the research process or in following an academic pathway, and its subsequent impact on the wellbeing and mental health of the researcher. Within this intervention piece, we expose some of the uncertainties and precarities experienced as part of the postgraduate research journey, in doing so, drawing upon our own personal experiences as doctoral researchers. These have included, for example, the potential of research to fail and perpetual anxieties around future academic careers, preservation and progression in the context of an unstable academy. Academia appears to have traditionally required a commitment to the silencing of emotions and feelings of uncertainty, with very few academics talking openly about the emotions involved in their everyday work. This piece calls for an environment which is more open, supportive and accommodating of both the emotions and mental health of postgraduate researchers.

Anxiety, Mental-health, Postgraduate research, Precarity
1755-4586
Butler-rees, Angharad
7b2dc53b-44db-41ec-97f5-1346669818fa
Robinson, Nick
0cb136ff-cc2e-4457-a0f6-2bf2526af2de
Butler-rees, Angharad
7b2dc53b-44db-41ec-97f5-1346669818fa
Robinson, Nick
0cb136ff-cc2e-4457-a0f6-2bf2526af2de

Butler-rees, Angharad and Robinson, Nick (2020) Encountering precarity, uncertainty and everyday anxiety as part of the postgraduate research journey. Emotion, Space and Society, 37, [100743]. (doi:10.1016/j.emospa.2020.100743).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Whilst there has been a recent rise in research within the social sciences which has sought to explore the topic of ‘precarity’, to date there has been very little discussion around the precarity inherent in the research process or in following an academic pathway, and its subsequent impact on the wellbeing and mental health of the researcher. Within this intervention piece, we expose some of the uncertainties and precarities experienced as part of the postgraduate research journey, in doing so, drawing upon our own personal experiences as doctoral researchers. These have included, for example, the potential of research to fail and perpetual anxieties around future academic careers, preservation and progression in the context of an unstable academy. Academia appears to have traditionally required a commitment to the silencing of emotions and feelings of uncertainty, with very few academics talking openly about the emotions involved in their everyday work. This piece calls for an environment which is more open, supportive and accommodating of both the emotions and mental health of postgraduate researchers.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 12 October 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 20 October 2020
Keywords: Anxiety, Mental-health, Postgraduate research, Precarity

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445249
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445249
ISSN: 1755-4586
PURE UUID: 316da5c9-d7aa-4173-8028-1d74ceb82e64

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 26 Nov 2020 17:31
Last modified: 21 Nov 2021 21:09

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Contributors

Author: Angharad Butler-rees
Author: Nick Robinson

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