Survey and Project: On the (Im)possibility of Scholarship in an Era of Networked Knowledge

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There are at least two dimensions to the transformation in the character of scholarly publishing and the correlative shift in the networked conditions of production of scholarly work. The scope and scale of material available has radically increased and the mechanisms of judging scholarly value have been increasingly refined. Yet, we have not done enough to critically reflect on what these transformations have done to the experience of producing scholarly work. I am referring to the simple way that everyday activities of scholarship have been transformed. An obvious example is the practice of carrying out a literature review. This brief essay presents some notes on literature review preparation and abstract writing from the perspective of a mid-career academic who is committed to assisting their research students. It then argues there are two new meta-professional skills required of scholars to function in academia and in which our research students need to develop expertise. What if we could problematise the ‘project’ (or ‘projectify’ the problem)? Rather than the coordinates of the project being determined by the administrative burden of measurement and correlative productivity according to maximum gradients of anxiety (the neoliberal academic model), what if the ‘project’ was configured as an instrument for suspending practices of discovery according to the maximum gradients of curiosity (the post-neoliberal academic model)? This is the difference between passive and active affections that befall scholars as they are socialised as academics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number227
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalFibreculture Journal
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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