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Reflecting on the mobile academic

Auto-ethnographic writing in the knowledge economy

Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich

This article examines what it means to be an academic in the knowledge economy, using auto-ethnographic writing or storytelling as its starting point. Although academic mobility has been researched for about a decade, deep listening and deep reading in the context of ethnography have not been utilised in analysing what it means to move in this global space. To conduct this exercise, fellows from the European Union-funded Universities in the Knowledge Economy project who were all mobile academics, were invited to participate in ethnographic writing workshops and explore the personal, subjective elements of narrating their experiences of being mobile and being migrants. I aim to not only present the narratives of colleagues who populate the global knowledge economy but also analyse them and ask if certain ideal forms of narrative habitus support academic mobility.

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Eli Thorkelson, Guy Redden, Christopher Newfield, Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich and Marie-Pierre Moreau

Christopher Newfield (2016) The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 430 pp., ISBN 9781421421629

William C. Smith (ed.) (2016) The Global Testing Culture: Shaping Education Policy, Perceptions, and Practice Oxford: Symposium Books, 302 pp., ISBN 9781873927724

Michael W. Kirst and Mitchell L. Stevens (eds) (2015) Remaking College: The Changing Ecology of Higher Education Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 323 pp., ISBN 9780804793292

Zuleika Arashiro and Malba Barahona (eds) (2015) Women in Academia Crossing North–South Borders: Gender, Race and Displacement Lanham, Boulder, New York and London: Lexington Books, 166 pp., ISBN 9781498517690

Genine A. Hook (2016) Sole Parent Students and Higher Education: Gender, Policy and Widening Participation London: Palgrave Macmillan, 230 pp., ISBN 9781137598868

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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