Publication Details

Percy, A. Jane. (2015). A critical turn in higher education research: turning the critical lens on the Academic Language and Learning educator. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 36 (6), 881-893.


This paper suggests that historical ontology, as one form of reflexive critique, is an instructive research design for making sense of the political and historical constitution of the Academic Language and Learning (ALL) educator in Australian higher education. The ALL educator in this paper refers to those practitioners in the field of ALL, whose ethical agency has largely been taken for granted since their slow and uneven emergence in the latter half of the twentieth century. Using the lens of governmentality, genealogical design and archaeological method, the historical ontology proposed in this paper demonstrates how the ethical remit of the ALL educator to 'make a difference' to student learning is not necessarily a unifying construct providing a foundational moral basis for the work, but a contingent historical and political effect of the government of conduct in liberal society. The findings of this approach are not intended to undermine the agency of the ALL educator, but to assist in making sense of the historical conditions that frame and complicate their institutional intelligibility as ethical agents in the academy.



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