Academic writing as identity-work in higher education: Forming a ‘professional writing in higher education habitus’

French, Amanda (2019) Academic writing as identity-work in higher education: Forming a ‘professional writing in higher education habitus’. Studies in Higher Education. ISSN 0307-5079

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The symbolic and practical importance of academic writing is a constant presence, a definite ‘something’, in higher education. This paper uses Bourdieu’s concept of habitus (1985) to take an ‘otherwise look’ at how academics, as they pass through various educational environments, as undergraduates, postgraduates and academic professionals, gradually develop what I call a ‘writing in higher education writing habitus’ which both informs and constrains its practitioners. This academic writing habitus has multiple dimensions and is informed by individuals’ various writing experiences which in turn reflects their cultural and social resources, emotional orientations, use of technologies and professional roles and responsibilities, not to mention the influence of their membership of academic disciplines. Consequently, the paper explores how each individual’s writing history is both unique and the product of wider social and historical discourses and domains. Moreover, writing in higher education differentiates itself from other forms of writing, most notably, as a privileged discourse which denotes ‘educatedness’ (Ruth, 2008) for those who can demonstrate their use of it. The interpretation and operationalisation of this distinct and privileged conceptualisation of academic writing has clear implications for the development and assessment of written work in the Academy.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
16 January 2019Accepted
6 February 2019Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional identity, academic literacies, career development, communities of practice, academic acculturation
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE)
Depositing User: Amanda French
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2019 08:59
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 17:01

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