‘Academics without publications are just like imperial concubines without sons’: The ‘new times’ of Chinese higher education

Wen XU, Adam POOLE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Whilst the extant literature on the publish-or-perish culture in the West is plentiful, there remains surprisingly little scholarship exploring the ways managerialist policies have become integral to local identities, work and life in Chinese universities. We address this gap by taking China’s endeavour to become first in the global higher education field as an entry point and reflecting on our lived experiences as early career researchers (ECRs) in the form of a duoethnography. Our dialogues consider how, and with what effects, Chinese higher education privileges the notion of research excellence and works to construct professional identities. As grass-roots ECRs epitomising a force to negotiate, challenge and resist the contemporary research order from below, we identify academic publishing as ‘the best strategy’ to get ahead in the academic game. Despite our compliance with the regime of new managerialism, our narratives also suggest that we are attempting to resist the drive for research productivity through envisaging a slower tempo in writing and aspiring for greater reflection. We provide readers with a range of individual- and collective-based strategies for being and progressing as grassroots ECRs, and implications for universities are also discussed at the end of the article. Copyright © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Early online dateNov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 2023

Citation

Xu, W., & Poole, A. (2023). ‘Academics without publications are just like imperial concubines without sons’: The ‘new times’ of Chinese higher education. Journal of Education Policy. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2023.2288339

Keywords

  • China
  • Early career researchers (ECRs)
  • Higher education
  • Identity
  • New managerialism
  • Research excellence

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