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Placing academic activism: Constraints and possibilties of faculty work

Aaron M Kuntz, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study examines the nature of disciplinarity as the institutionalization of faculty work, utilizing academic activism as an entry point for analysis. Through a case study of 14 faculty participants that merges in-depth ethnographic interviews and historical document analysis, this study interrogates the intersection of faculty daily practices and larger social structures. In such intersections, social space and material place are identified; the ways physical environments are shaped and have a hand in shaping individual interpretations of the world are suggested. Data analysis overlaid thematic examinations of participant interviews and historical documents with interpretations based on a framework of conceptual metaphor. Findings from this study confirm that professional identities are shaped through disciplinary processes that occur within social spaces and material places. Further, the data demonstrate how institutionalized places affect the kind of work faculty do on campus and in their professional fields, as well as their social relations among colleagues. Finally, while talking about both institutional space and activist possibilities, faculty described their work utilizing themes of connection, isolation, and integration, three themes that have implications on both social and material levels.

Subject Area

Higher education|Educational theory

Recommended Citation

Kuntz, Aaron M, "Placing academic activism: Constraints and possibilties of faculty work" (2007). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3293929.