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Shifting landscapes: from coalface to quick sand? Teaching geography, earth and environmental sciences in UK higher education

Walkington, Helen; Williams, Rebecca; Dyer, Sarah; Morton, Katherine; Wyse, Stephanie


Sarah Dyer

Katherine Morton

Stephanie Wyse


In this paper we examine contemporary academic working lives, with particular reference to teaching-only and teaching-focused academics. We argue that intensification in the neoliberal university has significantly shifted the structure of academic careers, while cultural stories about those careers have not changed. We call for academics to re-examine our collective stories about standard academic career paths. Challenging the stories and making visible the ways that they create and multiply disadvantage is a crucial step in expanding the possibilities for academic identities and careers. The paper begins by describing teaching-focused academics within the context of the wider workforce. We then draw on narratives of those in these roles to illustrate the processes that (re)inscribe their marginalisation. We uncover the gendering of the teaching-focused academic labour market. We end the paper by suggesting interventions that all academics can take and support to address the issues we highlight.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2016-09
Journal Area
Print ISSN 0004-0894
Electronic ISSN 1475-4762
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 3
Pages 308-316
Keywords Education, Academic labour, Gender, Teaching
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article published in Area, 2016, v.48 issue 3.


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