Becoming and Unbecoming an Academic: Performative Autoethnography of Struggles Against Imposter Syndrome From Early to Mid-Career in the Neoliberal University

Karen Lumsden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This chapter presents a performative autoethnographic account of career progression in UK higher education. The discussion reconnects privatised notions of feelings (of inadequacy) to the public presentation of an academic self (which aligns with and bolsters the imperatives of the neoliberal academy). The author takes the reader on a journey through critical moments in her academic career as a sociologist/criminologist in which the position and status of imposter was brought to the fore—a status often imposed on her by other players in the academic field. She considers how we can silence our internalised critic and perform a ‘good enough’ self in the face of a masculinist performance culture and managerial demands for continual improvement, excellence and entrepreneurship; and how we can repair our spoiled identities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Imposter Syndrome in Higher Education
EditorsMichelle Addison, Maddie Breeze, Yvette Taylor
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages577-592
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-86570-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-86569-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • higher education
  • academia
  • imposter syndrome
  • identity
  • gender
  • neoliberal
  • university
  • belonging

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