Apprentice, collaborator, colleague, competitor: negotiating the trajectory(ies) of a doctoral student: an activity theory perspective

Larkin, Kevin M. (2009) Apprentice, collaborator, colleague, competitor: negotiating the trajectory(ies) of a doctoral student: an activity theory perspective. In: AARE 2008: Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference 2008: Changing Climates - Education for Sustainable Futures?, 30 Nov – 4 Dec 2008, Brisbane, Australia.

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This paper will conceptualise, via an ‘Activity Theory’ approach, the journey of a Doctor of Education (RHD) candidate from Masters student – through the coursework component of the EdD programme, and then onto a Doctor of Education Dissertation. In so doing it seeks to determine whether such an approach is able to ‘capture’ the subjective nature of such a journey. The RHD journey implicitly and explicitly involves membership of an academic community of practice and the author’s various experiences of this membership will provide the ‘dataset’ for this paper. Whilst drawing on earlier Activity Theory iterations, Engestrom’s (1987) 3rd Generation Activity Systems theory, will be primarily utilised to position myself in this system of practice. Drawing on the work of Stevenson (2004), the paper will explore how the elements of Rules and Division of Labour mediate the author’s doctoral experiences. Tensions and complexities (contradictions in Activity Theory terms) within the experience including the influence of social capital; relationships with supervisor(s); relationships with the wider Griffith University community; and access to publishing opportunities in academic journals are conceptualised as avenues for the author to transform himself as researcher and also transform the culture of his research community. The RHD journey, whilst clearly occurring within a specific research community, and defined to a significant extent by the contradictory elements of this community, is at the same time an intensely private experience and this reflection will consequently draw on my lived experience during various stages of the journey. The academic experience is a dynamic one in terms of the author’s various subjectivities – student, apprentice researcher, author, colleague, and competitor. As a way of framing these subjectivities, Membership Categorisation (Baker, 1997), will be used as a way of theorising the role of an active subject choosing from a range of available roles, and responding to a range of discourses within a particular context.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: All the Abstracts and Conference Papers in this collection are copyright under Australian law and international conventions. Each Abstract or Conference Paper is copyright by the individual author or authors and may not be reproduced without permission of the author or authors. If necessary AARE will assist those wishing to reproduce the works to locate authors.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2012 03:03
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: activity theory; doctoral journey; research higher degree; doctoral degrees; supervisors
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220107 Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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