Challenging Approaches to Academic Career-Making
Published December 2023

Against a background of changing patterns of academic labour in the UK and other English speaking countries, Challenging Approaches to Academic Career-Making draws on empirical research which identifies a shift towards more open-ended approaches to roles and careers in higher education. This has resulted in what the authors describe as ‘concertina-like’ careers, in which individuals stretch the spaces and timescales available to them. Underpinning this process, the concept of ‘career scripts’ shows how the career paths of individuals may be informed by formal career structures (Institutional scripts) but also by activity associated with professional practice (Practice scripts), and by personal strengths, interests and commitments (Internal scripts). This has led to new forms of activity, within both the formal institutional economy, including promotion criteria and prescribed career pathways, and the informal institutional economy, represented by personal interests and initiatives, professional relationships and networks. The ‘concertina’ process enables individuals to address a series of common misalignments and disjunctures within formal institutional economies, including those associated with disciplinary and departmental affiliations, job profiles, progression criteria, and work allocation models. The book also explores directions that academic careers may take in the future, and how institutions might adapt to these changes.

The Bloomsbury Higher Education Research series provides the evidence-based academic output of the world’s leading research centre on higher education, the ESRC/RE Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE) in the UK. The core focus of CGHE’s work and of The Bloomsbury Higher Education Research series is higher education, especially the future of higher education in the changing global landscape. The emergence of CGHE reflects the remarkable growth in the role and importance of universities and other higher education institutions, and research and science, across the world. Corresponding to CGHE’s projects, monographs in the series will consist of social science research on global, international, national and local aspects of higher education, drawing on methodologies in education, learning theory, sociology, economics, political science and policy studies. Monographs will be prepared so as to maximise worldwide readership and selected on the basis of their relevance to one or more of higher education policy, management, practice and theory. Topics will range from teaching and learning and technologies, to research and research impact in industry, national system design, the public good role of universities, social stratification and equity, institutional governance and management, and the cross-border mobility of people, institutions, programmes, ideas and knowledge. The Bloomsbury Higher Education Research series is at the cutting edge of world research on higher education.