Disciplinary and interdisciplinary affiliations of experienced researchers

Angela Brew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports on a study of senior academics' views of their disciplinary and interdisciplinary affiliations. It questions the idea that academics have a firm and fixed disciplinary identity from which they then act and suggests that academic work in the contemporary university challenges and changes how individuals view their disciplinary affiliation. The article provides empirical data that lends weight to critical questioning of anthropological metaphors, which have tended to dominate discussions of disciplinarity. It suggests that contemporary understandings of disciplinary and interdisciplinary identity need more fluid metaphors and models; ones that can capture the shifting and questioning uncertainties that give expression to the rhetorical and reflexive nature of academics' disciplinary affiliations. The article explores the implications of a dominant emphasis on disciplinary relationships for understanding disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity and examines the practical implications for structures and systems that are designed to enhance and evaluate research and teaching within higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-438
Number of pages16
JournalHigher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Disciplines
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Views of academics


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