The Development of Authorial Identity among Senior Academic Scholars on the Trajectory of Professorship
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Recent social theories related to academic literacies suggest that academic writing is not a mere text production but also an identity performance; hence, the notion of ‘authorial identity’ which involves two dimensions: the identity as academic authors (personal dimension) and the identity in writing (textual dimension). This thesis presents a study into the development of authorial identity among senior academic scholars on the trajectory of professorship through interviews and textual analysis of their published papers sampled across their early and later career. Three full professors from a UK university participated in this study, which was conducted in three phases. In the first phase, the professor participants’ accounts of their personal dimension of authorial identity through interviews signal common themes regarding the influence of the recent academic climate on their personal experience of growth in relation to their endeavour to improve the quality of their academic scholarship. In the second phase, the metadiscourse-based textual analysis of their sampled academic papers indicates several features of their identity performance in writing over time, which form the basis for the professor participants’ reflection on their textual dimension of authorial identity in the third phase in order to explore how their papers are embedded in and related to the social contexts of academic publication, especially the peer review process and the research assessment framework. The research findings from this study not only shed light on the developmental pathway in academic writing from the same academic scholars over time but also provide an illuminating account of how they have developed themselves as well as their writing on the trajectory of professorship. Further, the findings from all three research phases are discussed together in relation to relevant social theories to offer a theoretical contribution to the research area of academic literacies, writing, identity and scholarship.
College of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter
PhD in Education