Understanding professional vulnerability in an era of performativity: Experiences of EFL academics in mainland China

Zhanzhu GAO, Rui Eric YUAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Early online date12 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2021

Citation

Gao, 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

Keywords

  • Professional vulnerability
  • EFL academics
  • Performativity
  • Higher education
  • PG student publication

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