The identity trajectories of older academics: Workplace affordances and individual subjectivities

Iwaniec-Thompson, Gosia (2022). The identity trajectories of older academics: Workplace affordances and individual subjectivities. In: Rienties, Bart; Hampel, Regine; Scanlon, Eileen and Whitelock, Denise eds. Open World Learning: Research, Innovation and the Challenges of High-Quality Education. Routledge Research in Digital Education and Educational Technology. New York, USA: Routledge, pp. 250–263.



The changing landscape of the Higher Education sector including open digital networked technologies impacts academics’ identity. Chapter 18 sets out to understand the identity development that older academics (i.e., aged 50 and over) engage in their everyday practice as they negotiate their participation in such dynamic practice. Whilst recent trends and future projections indicate a growing number of older academics, empirical research considering their identity development is scarce. This is despite a growth of literature conceptualising the workplace as a context where academics’ identity is constructed and developed. Drawing on Wenger’s communities of practice and Billet’s co-participation, Chapter 18 explores the interconnected relationships between the affordances of the landscape of practice (dynamics which enable or constrain practice) and individual subjectivities (one’s influence and stances) that shape academics’ identity development and re-construction at work. This chapter will explore tensions between the different identities, and trajectories of identification, that constitute the participation of academics in the landscape of communities of practice. It will suggest that through engagement, but also imagination and alignment, older academics identities come to reflect the changing landscape of their practice in which they participate and exercise their subjectivities, and which constitute their dynamic identity.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions