Drawing on data collected from multiple sources, this qualitative case study investigates how seven English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) academics from a university in mainland China perceive and cope with their professional vulnerability within the system of performativity. Three themes were generated from the data: (1) professional vulnerability as a state of conformity and self-learning, (2) professional vulnerability as a state of constrained agency, and (3) professional vulnerability as a state of disengagement. The findings not only reflect the complex and dynamic nature of EFL academics’ professional vulnerability, but also unpack numerous contextual and personal factors mediating EFL academics’ experiences of professional vulnerability. The paper ends with some practical implications on how to mitigate the negative influences that vulnerability has on EFL academics’ professional practice within the system of performativity. Copyright © 2021 Informa UK Limited.
CitationGao, Z., & Yuan, R. (2021). Understanding professional vulnerability in an era of performativity: Experiences of EFL academics in mainland China. Teaching in Higher Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2021.1989577
- Professional vulnerability
- EFL academics
- Higher education
- PG student publication