Mindful networks? Navigating and negotiating life and work in academia.
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractIn this chapter I unpack my use of social networks (and social media) as a means of being more mindful about the role of research and scholarship in the construction of my academic identity. I have found it to be a restless, shifting identity that has to be carefully and continually navigated and negotiated. On the one hand, I explain how participation in social networks has actively shaped my sense of academic community and also the scholarly relationships that contribute strongly to my academic health and wellbeing. On the other hand, I question the extent to which social networking and the use of social media in academia allow truly mindful practices to be enacted. For example, I sometimes worry that social networking for academic purposes through social media contributes to the acceleration of higher education practice – never switching off, always being connected – potentially further exacerbating academics’ levels of labour, stress and pressure. By reflecting upon and analysing my scholarly use of Twitter and Instagram I explore how this practice (usually) keeps me acting mindfully as an academic and evaluate the extent to which it enables me to engage better in the complex cognitive and emotional demands of working in higher education. Finally, I reflect upon my recent change of both role and institution, which saw me unexpectedly and temporarily suspend my regular use of social media for academic purposes.
CitationVigurs, K. (2018) Mindful Networks? Navigating and Negotiating Life and Work in Academia, in Lemon, N. and McDonough, S. (Eds) Mindfulness in the Academy: Practices and Perspectives from Scholars, Cham: Springer, pp. 59-70.