‘Get yourself some nice, neat, matching box files!’: Research administrators and occupational identity work
University of Exeter
Studies in Higher Education
To-date, qualitative research into occupational groups and cultures within academia has been relatively scarce, with an almost exclusive concentration upon teaching staff within universities and colleges. This paper seeks to address this lacuna and applies the interactionist concept of ‘identity work’ in order to examine one specific group to-date under-researched: graduate research administrators. This occupational group is of sociological interest as many of its members appear to span the putative divide between ‘academic’ and ‘administrative’ occupational worlds within higher education. An exploratory, qualitative research project was undertaken, based upon interviews with 27 research administrators. The study applies the work of Snow and Anderson (1995) and particularly of Perinbanayagam (2000), in order to analyse how research administrators utilise various forms of identity work to sustain credible occupational identities, often in the face of considerable challenge from their academic colleagues.
This is the author's post print version of an article accepted for publication in Studies in Higher Education. © 2008 Informa plc. The definitive publisher-authenticated version (Vol.32 (3), June 2007 pp. 1075-1105) is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content?content=10.1080/03075070701346832. 18 month embargo by the publisher. Article will be released December 2008.
Studies in Higher Education, 2007, 32 (3): 295 - 309