Tribes and Territories in the 21st Century: Rethinking the Significance of Disciplines in Higher Education
Trowler, Paul Saunders, Murray Bamber, Veronica
The tribes and territories metaphor for the cultures of academic disciplines and their roots in different knowledge characteristics has been used by those interested in university life and work since the early 1990s. This book draws together research, data and theory to show how higher education has gone through major change since then and how social theory has evolved in parallel. Together these changes mean there is a need to re-theorise academic life in a way which reflects changed contexts in universities in the twenty-first century, and so a need for new metaphors. Using a social practice approach, the editors and contributors argue that disciplines are alive and well, but that in a turbulent environment where many other forces conditioning academic practices exist, their influence is generally weaker than before. However, the social practice approach adopted in the book highlights how this influence is contextually contingent - how disciplines are deployed in different ways for different purposes and with varying degrees of purchase.