‘Deeply and deliciously unsettled’? Mis-reading discourses of equity in the early stages of Covid19

Dina Zoe Belluigi*, Laura Czerniewicz, Daniela Gachago, C Camps, Najma Agherdien, R Marx

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In the early stages of the ‘pivot online’, various conceptions of inequalities and their relations to educational equity peppered the discourses of higher education practitioners and the promotional discourses of their institutions. Concerned with what conditions subjectification and action within the micro- and meso-curricula, this paper explores the cultural and structural discursive positions in which such agents are entangled, and the discourse conflicts they negotiated about what to adopt, shape, defer or resist when it comes to equity. Offering deliberations on the possibilities and problematics for equity in higher education, were insiders’ perspectives of those who operate in the thresholds between academic and professional communities within South African and UK higher education – learning technologists, academic developers and Higher Education Studies scholars – in the period of March to June 2020. Careful not to provide a monovocal nor hierarchical interpretation of these discourses at this early stage in the pandemic, our analysis rather juxtaposes complex and at time conflicting local accounts and negotiations of three schisms around which their narratives skirted: (i) the substantial fault lines under and in societies, institutions and practitioner communities; (ii) the complexities intersecting with digital divides; and (iii) the in/visibility of differentially impacted individuals and groups during that period. As individuals with ethico-political commitments, and with responsibilities as members of evanescent interpretative communities, their acts of narration drew from, and at times against, the dominant discourses situated within particular socio-economic and ideological higher education contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalHigher Education
Volume18
Issue number1
Early online date08 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 08 Apr 2022

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