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Values, Concerns and Identity
in Academic Development
' .... there was a great silence about
our political situations and struggles
... yet they are deeply part of the
relations that constitute us as
persons, teachers and researchers.
At the same time they constitute the
world as the historical process of
which our endeavours, and we
ourselves, happen to be part'.
(Lave, 2012: 158)
The social order is constituted as three elements.
Archer 1996:1) distinguishes between:
• Structure “roles, organisations, institutions, systems”
• Culture - which is the dominant register of ideas
or propositions in a society or setting (1995).
• These are considered as causative powers if the
properties of the social domains are interacted
upon by people as groups or individuals.
Constraints and enablements
The causative powers generated by structure and
culture are exercised as constraints and
enablements, subject to their take up by
human agency and described as subjective
(Archer 2007: 10)
Our concerns are commitments that are ends in
themselves and constitutive of who we are, for the
sake of which we will be altruistic, self-sacrificing
and sometimes ready to die and always, at least, be
trying to live. They are also definitive of our varying
forms of social engagement (Archer, 2007, p.
As Huber, Caine, Huber and Steeves (3) remark,
“our very identities as human beings are
inextricably linked to the stories we tell of
ourselves, both to ourselves and one another”.
• Individual agency and sense of
identity as being different from
others in our communities.
• Prepared to stand out and say or
act as we believed we should.
• Lack of shared values with family
• Passion for knowledge and
curiosity about others.
• Incidental similarities: stints of
exposure in the media.
• Struggled against rigidity of
institution. On the outside not
wanting to get “in”.
• The strongest similarity: sense
that we remain driven by a strong
set of values regarding social
• Careers in high school teaching.
• Circularity of commitments.
• Backgrounds affluence, middle
class and working class.
• Schooling: upper class/poorer.
• Family structures:
• Types of sacrifices made in order
to take up the fight.
• Higher ed as a natural
progression/struggle to get there.
We bring our past along
into the present either
• All that the stories do is to explicate how
having been in the struggle may make the
values base and make clearer the set of
assumptions we work with in AD.
• The implication of this is that it may be
beneficial for academic developers to
undertake introspective and retrospective
journeys, especially if they are in a position to
reflect on these in the company of others.