Higher Education

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 423–438 | Cite as

Disciplinary and interdisciplinary affiliations of experienced researchers



This article reports on a study of senior academics’ views of their disciplinary and interdisciplinary affiliations. It questions the idea that academics have a firm and fixed disciplinary identity from which they then act and suggests that academic work in the contemporary university challenges and changes how individuals view their disciplinary affiliation. The article provides empirical data that lends weight to critical questioning of anthropological metaphors, which have tended to dominate discussions of disciplinarity. It suggests that contemporary understandings of disciplinary and interdisciplinary identity need more fluid metaphors and models; ones that can capture the shifting and questioning uncertainties that give expression to the rhetorical and reflexive nature of academics’ disciplinary affiliations. The article explores the implications of a dominant emphasis on disciplinary relationships for understanding disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity and examines the practical implications for structures and systems that are designed to enhance and evaluate research and teaching within higher education.


Disciplines Interdisciplinarity Views of academics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Teaching and LearningThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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