A career in activism: A reflective narrative of university governance and unionism

Agnes Bosanquet, Catherine Rytmeister

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper examines what it means to be an activist and to do activist work in the Australian contemporary university. In a context of globalisation, massification and marketisation, what does academic or scholar activism look like? In a time of political uncertainty about fee deregulation, further cuts to public funding and changes to the income-contingent loans scheme, what does it mean to be an activist or to do activist work? And what happens when activist attention turns to the higher education sector and the operations of the university? This paper examines these broad questions at an intimate level, presenting a reflective narrative of an individual career in academic activism marked by a long-standing scholarly interest in the nature and work of universities, academic and professional roles, teaching experience in multiple disciplines and involvement in union representation. In this paper, the reflections of an individual academic activist, Rosie, are embedded in a contextual discussion of university governance, regulatory and auditing frameworks, the academic workforce, gender inequality, and learning and teaching in higher education in Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-88
    Number of pages9
    JournalAustralian Universities' Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • academic activism
    • university governance
    • academic identities
    • higher education


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