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Postdoctoral researcher development in the sciences: a Bourdieusian analysis

Soubes, Sandrine (2017) Postdoctoral researcher development in the sciences: a Bourdieusian analysis. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The purpose of this research was to explore how postdoctoral researchers and principal investigators (PIs) in scientific disciplines experience researcher development, following the implementation of the Roberts researcher development policies. This doctoral research used a qualitative methodology with a dual approach of “at-home ethnography” (Alvesson, 2009, p. 174) and semi-structured interviewing to explore the experiences of being and developing as a postdoctoral researcher, as well as being an academic employing postdoctoral researchers, within the structural context of a research- intensive institution. Data from 9 Postdoctoral researchers and 12 Principal investigators (academics) interviewed between 2013-14 is presented in this analysis. The Bourdieusian concepts of field, capital and habitus (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992) have been used to frame the analysis of researcher development, as a practice within the field of postdoctoral research. An ethnographic exploration permitted to narrate the institutional implementation of researcher development policies; it also allowed to identify objective structures contributing to shaping the Postdoc habitus and the positioning of researchers within the institutional context. From this small-scale explorative study emerged 6 domains of postdoctoral researcher positioning (projecting, grafting, hopping, stepping, resisting and bobbling) within the field of postdoctoral research. These domains were conceptualised on the basis of volumes and configuration of capital, particular habitus, modes of entry into the postdoctoral field and trajectory within the field. The study identifies instances of symbolic violence that pertain to the lack of capital afforded to postdoctoral researchers. An exploration of PIs’ habitus highlights particular stances in approaching researcher development, that point to a reproduction of the field doxa. The findings bring to the fore that researcher development policies have had limited impact in reconfiguring the postdoctoral field logic and challenge researcher developers in their role within the postdoctoral field.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: Postdocs, postdoctoral, principal investigator, researcher development, habitus, field, capital, Bourdieu
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.723214
Depositing User: Dr Sandrine Soubes
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2017 15:30
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18296

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