Governing the social, material, textual, and advancing professional learning of doctoral candidates in the contemporary university

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Teaching Public Administration, 2018, 36 (1), pp. 14 - 33
Issue Date:
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© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. Doctoral education is increasingly of interest to higher education researchers and policy-makers as the qualification’s diversity, governance, reach and policy outcomes come under growing scrutiny. In the context of these changes, the paper adopts for the first time since Cumming’s seminal study, a practice-based exploration of the social, material, textual, and professional learning of doctoral candidates in an Australian university. The exploration, drawing on empirical data and practice-based analyses of the university as ‘organisation’, examines divergent and growing pressures on the qualification. Data indicate that current arrangements privilege sociomaterial (disciplinary) learning. Textual practices, central to accomplishing the dissertation, develop over time and in irregular fashion across disciplines, as candidates learn new rhetorical and publication practices. New practices aimed at reimagining the doctoral qualification as a vocational/professional formation program are unlikely to succeed given the prevailing nature of practices and practice-based conceptualisations of situated learning.
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