8: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker: an uncanny story of contemporary academic life1


In recent years, higher education has undergone significant shifts, heralded by the rise of organisational reforms and regulated disciplinarity. Becoming subject to the particularities of academic labour in the ‘new’ university has been an unsettling and uncanny experience. Drawing together the threads of personal and professional experience, Chapter 8 looks at the effects of having to renegotiate questions to do with identity, power and social wellbeing. The extent to which the author’s recent re-experience of self has been/is embedded within the wider sociological relations of power is explored and as a researcher interested in narrative and life history approaches I frequently focus on the telling moments in life stories and how these moments are often connected to life transitions and transformations. This chapter re-tells a reflexive and biographically positioned ‘truth’ to speak about and re/story a narrative of psychological, physical and emotional dis/ease.

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