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Towards scholar-activism: transversal relations, dissent, and creative acts
Citizenship Studies, Volume: 27, Issue: 3, Pages: 329 - 346
Swansea University Author: Angharad Closs Stephens
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What does it mean to be a scholar-activist or to pursue scholar-activism in the neoliberal university? Acknowledging how this concept of a ‘scholar-activist’ is often approached either cynically or idealistically, we ask how we might engage this figure otherwise: as one characterised by in-betweenne...
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What does it mean to be a scholar-activist or to pursue scholar-activism in the neoliberal university? Acknowledging how this concept of a ‘scholar-activist’ is often approached either cynically or idealistically, we ask how we might engage this figure otherwise: as one characterised by in-betweenness. We pursue the question of what it means to be a scholar-activist theoretically drawing on the work of Engin Isin, and empirically situated in the midst of our everyday teaching lives. In doing so, we develop ideas about how enacting our academic lives through a politics of in-between involves developing transversal relations, practising pedagogical dissent, and engaging in non-heroic, creative acts of citizenship. Overall, we argue for a form of scholar-activism that is ambivalent about its capacity to bring about change, and restless in practising how things could be different. Through a discussion of two examples of dissident teaching practices from our respective Geography departments, we ask: what might it mean to pursue change in the spaces of the university, using the tools we have to hand, as we consider the future possibilities for scholar-activism?
Scholar-activism, ambivalence, citizenship, neoliberal university, being political
Faculty of Science and Engineering