Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Problems of being a Junior Academic at UKZN

In the chapter, The Problems of being a Junior Academic at UKZN, Shaun Ruggunan expresses concern about the failure of the University to be sufficiently business-like in its treatment of junior academics. He focuses on his own experiences negotiating academic hierarchies—thrown in the deep end and expected to swim without any kind of orientation. He would like to see the university adopt some of the values of business to ensure the rights of junior academics are recognised and respected. Currently how junior academics are treated—whether mentored, encouraged, ignored or abused—depends on the predispositions of senior academics with in/formal responsibility for them. The idealised notion of ‘collegiality’—under threat from the economisation of relations—may be used or abused to maintain problematic and unequal power structures. Shaun draws attention to the ways ‘extreme and nuanced power relations’ operate at lower levels in the university hierarchy.

Ruggunan, Shaun. 'The Problems of being a Junior Academic at UKZN', in Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan (Eds.), Undressing Durban (Durban: Madiba Press, 2007), pp. 424-432.