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Made in Manchester?

Methods and Myths in Disciplinary History

David Mills

In this article, I demonstrate how Max Gluckman used his forceful and charismatic leadership to build the reputation of the Manchester School through collective research and writing practices. He created a distinctly anthropological genealogy for the case-study method that elided its earlier development within American sociology. He also championed a balanced use of ethnographic and quantitative research methods and a team-based approach to carrying out social research. While the case-study method has received much attention, both of these latter aspects of the work carried out within the Manchester Department are a neglected part of its intellectual legacy.

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David Mills

We hear ever more about the internationalisation of higher education. As U.K. universities become increasingly exposed to the vagaries of international student demand, administrators are scrambling to develop ‘internationalisation’ strategies, whilst academics are being encouraged to incorporate ‘international perspectives’ into their curricula. Even the U.K.’s Centre for Learning and Teaching Sociology, Anthropology and Politics (C-SAP) has a strategic aim to promote ‘best practice in the internationalisation of the student learning experience’. It sounds impressive, but what does it mean in practice? Internationalisation has become a buzzword that everyone can use without having to agree on what they mean. The word’s descriptive malleability is its analytical downfall.

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Home or Away?

Widening Participation and the Challenge for Anthropology

Paul Hawkins and David Mills

Drawing on recent ethnographic research with 'non-traditional' humanities and social science students at a 'new' university in the North West of England, this paper explores their contradictory experiences of alienation and engagement, and their attitudes to institutional 'Widening Participation' initiatives. It argues that these students' institutional survival depends on negotiating the conflicting expectations of their academic relationships and their day-to-day social responsibilities beyond the university.

What might these findings mean for anthropology's own pedagogic strategies? The paper ends by suggesting that a subject that asks its students fundamentally to question their established senses of self and 'home' may pose a further challenge for students for whom strained personal and domestic relationships, ambivalence and self-doubt are dominant motifs of their whole university experience.

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David Mills and Julia Paulson

Recent research on doctoral education in the U.K. has revealed the increasing number and diversity of academic relationships that shape the lives of research students, and students' own role in activating, mobilising and maintaining these relationships. Higher education policy reforms promoting doctoral 'skills training', interdisciplinary communities, thematic centres and supervisory teams, all create new networks for students to negotiate. Often beneficial and supportive, this article explores the 'unmentionable' consequences of relationships that gradually go awry.

This study began as a project exploring the everyday experiences of doctoral students and early career researchers in the Social Sciences within the U.K. As the research unfolded, we began to encounter accounts of neglect, exploitation and denigration. While such stories have long been part of postgraduate life, their seeming persistence in the face of robust quality assurance and supervisory codes needs further exploration. We offer three portraits of difficult doctoral journeys to explore these 'unmentionable' experiences and explore whether they are linked to growing institutional and career pressures on academics to prioritise research 'productivity'.

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Yann Lebeau and David Mills

After years of neglect, there is renewed international interest in higher education in sub-Saharan Africa. Comparative projects have been launched on a continental scale, looking at the socio-economic relevance of higher education, often with the aim of reviving failing institutions. A new 'transformation' policy paradigm has replaced a previously dominant rhetoric of 'crisis'. Promoted by the major funders, this discourse has been adopted by many within African governments and university administrations. We argue that such interventions are possible because of the particular post-colonial historical ties among African, European and American academies. They represent the latest stage of donor involvement in African universities, and are made possible by the outward-looking perspectives of many African scholars. Yet is this latest paradigm shift leading to real changes in research capacity and teaching quality within African institutions? Is it informed by specific institutional needs? We compare research and development projects led by donors with those led by academics themselves. Attempts by international donors to invigorate locally relevant research capacity are limiting the re-emergence of academic autonomy. Academic research 'collaborations', especially those led by European and American scholars, fare little better.'

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Jakob Krause-Jensen, Eurig Scandrett, Penny Welch and David Mills

K. Holbrook, A. Kim, B. Palmer, and A. Portnoy (eds) Global Values 101: A Short Course with Howard Zinn, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Robert Reich, Juliet Schor, Katha Pollitt, Paul Farmer, Lani Guinier and others Review by Jakob Krause-Jensen

Janet MacDonald Blended Learning and Online Tutoring Review by Eurig Scandrett

Amie MacDonald and Susan Sa´nchez-Casal (eds) Twenty-First Century Feminist Classrooms: Pedagogies of Identity and Difference Review by Penny Welch

Monica McLean Pedagogy and the University: Critical Theory and Practice Review by David Mills

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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