In the tradition of anthropological reflexivity, this article examines how the structure of early doctoral training contributes to the construction of particular kinds of anthropologists. Based on research conducted in an anthropology department in the U.S.A. during the late 1990s, the experience of the transition from undergraduate to doctoral studies is explored as simultaneously a process of culture learning and culture making, with power relations expressed, imposed, and contested through language. The implications for questions animating current anthropological debates, including calls for 'public anthropology', are considered.
Constructing Anthropologists: Culture learning and culture making in U.S. doctoral education
Navigating doctoral socialisation in Anthropology
Katherine Nielsen and Eli Thorkelson
Ethnographers have constructed contradicting assertions, and indeed assumptions,
about the nature of learning, how it is best accomplished, and
how students internalise this learning in order to form both individualised
and collective identities. Are the rites of passage, so often described in analyses
of postgraduate socialisation – the oral examinations, the viva voce, the
departmental seminar, or graduation ceremony – the only routes available
for understanding how anthropological culture is inculcated into students?
Is the role of the supervisor as mentor pivotal in the successful completion
of a Ph.D? Or is this more of a master/apprentice relationship? Does this
proc ess maintain its relevance in a globalised field and with instant virtual
access to experts from other institutions anywhere in the world? Such issues
have been of interest to both students and faculty within the anthropology
discipline, in particular, and the social sciences more generally.
Regulating emotions and aiming for a Ph.D.: Excerpts from Anthropology Matters
In this article I will present a range of experiences of graduate socialisation that have been discussed in past articles in the journal Anthropology Matters. These are the experiences of social anthropology Ph.D. students in the United Kingdom. The overarching theme for the article is 'regulating emotions', and the excerpts presented illustrate how Ph.D. students experience and deal with different emotional states that they encounter during the pre-fieldwork, fieldwork and writing up stages. I argue that the way in which these emotional states are handled may be just as important, in terms of gaining a Ph.D., as the increase in knowledge that is the ostensible marker of a completed Ph.D.
Book and Website Reviews
Silvia Rief, Antonino Palumbo, John Craig, Dorothy Sheridan, Barry Stierer, and Gabriela Edlinger
Myra H. Strober (2011): Interdisciplinary Conversations. Challenging Habits of Thought
Review by Silvia Rief
Hans Radder (ed.) (2010): The Commodification of Academic Research: Science and the Modern University
Review by Antonino Palumbo
Gabriela Pleschová (ed.) (2010): IT in Action: Stimulating Quality Learning at Undergraduate Students
Review by John Craig
Les Back (2010-11): Academic Diary, http://www.academic-diary.co.uk/
Sally Fincher, Janet Finlay, Isobel Falconer, Helen Sharp and Josh Tenenberg (2008-11): The Share Project, http://www.sharingpractice.ac.uk/homepage.html
Review by Dorothy Sheridan and Barry Stierer
Sabine Hikel (ed.): Leaving Academia: Offering Resources for Academic Leavers and Accounting for the Phenomenon of Brain Drain in Academia, http://www.leavingacademia.com/
Review by Gabriela Edlinger
Sanford F. Schram, David Mills, Tim May, Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt, Peter Quiddington, Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich, and Davydd Greenwood
Commentaries on issues raised by Richard Arum and Josipa Roska's Academically Adrift
Cultures of learning and learning culture: Socratic and Confucian approaches to teaching and learning
A wide variety of British universities are expanding efforts to attract international students. This article argues that higher education's implicit claim to all-inclusive 'universality' may hereby be challenged by subsequent issues of cultural particularity. Here I set to conceptualise possible differences in the learning culture of Asian international students through a Confucian-Socratic framework. The Socratic method, our archetypal Occidental model, is traditionally seen as an experiential learner-centred pedagogy that values creativity and intellectual independence. But the Confucian approach, the archetypal Oriental exemplar, is normally presented as a didactic teaching-centred pedagogy with greater emphasis on strategic, directed thinking. I conclude that refl ection in these ways may lead to a culturally sensitive form of education and also help identify the epistemological and ontological dimensions that enhance a more flexible approach to teaching and learning.
Penny Welch and Susan Wright
Welcome to this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences. Our thanks go to the authors of articles, commentaries and reviews, the anonymous referees who read the articles, the publishers who provided review copies of the books, our own publisher Berghahn and the Editorial Board.
A public secret: 'education for quality' and suicide among Chinese elite university students
This article is based on anthropological fieldwork undertaken at two elite universities in Beijing. It addresses the paradoxical situation of the many instances of suicide among Chinese elite university students in Beijing, which constitute a public secret. The pressure of education weighs heavily on the shoulders of China's only child in each family, known as the generation of little emperors and little empresses. Since the 1980s, the suzhi jiaoyu reforms (education for quality) have involved various attempts to reduce the pressure of education. However, simultaneously the aim is to increase the competitiveness of individuals. Drawing on existential and phenomenological thought, I suggest that the discourse seems to objectify and quantify a concern for well-being, rather than recognising its intersubjective character. Finally, I argue that the suicides are controversial since they are seen as a form of social criticism.
Report on a field visit to Mondragón University: a cooperative experience/experiment
Susan Wright, Davydd Greenwood, and Rebecca Boden
We have been investigating universities in our own countries for many years and are now turning our attention to exploring alternatives to current reforms. As part of these investigations, we spent two days of interviews and meetings at Mondragón, a town in Gipúzkoa in the Spanish Basque Country.
Mondragón is at the centre of one of the largest groups of co-operatives in the world and in 1997 set up what is probably the only co-operative university in existence. This highly successful university has a solidary economy, effective methods of knowledge generation and transfer, and is expanding. Among its unique features are flat hierarchies and forms of self-management, community engagement and student participation built on an overall concept of the solidarity of the stakeholders.
Eli Thorkelson and Steve Fuller
Annie Vinokur and Carole Sigman (eds) (2010) L’enseignement supérieur entre nouvelle gestion publique et crise systémique
Review by Eli Thorkelson
Michèle Lamont (2009) How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment
Review by Steve Fuller