Supervision as Metaphor

Alison Lee, William Green

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


    This article takes up the question of the language within which discussion of research degree is couched and framed, and the consequences of such framings for supervision as a field of pedagogical practice. This exploration is motivated, on the one hand, by our sense that there is much that remains untheorised and in need of conceptual and empirical investigation within the field of research degree supervision (both the research and policy fields). On the other hand, we have an enduring curiosity about the intensity and proliferation of metaphor, allegory and allusion in the language of candidature and supervision, both within the published literature and also through supervisors' stories in our own research, that appears to go in the face of attempts to bring a contemporary rationality into the intensifying public discourse about supervision. We ask, not how this question of language can be resolved and overcome, but rather about its productivity in defining and shaping dispositions, practices of knowledge making and knowledge itself. In what follows, we lay out some conceptual tools for expanding the conceptual-discursive field of supervision, bringing together the conceptual space of pedagogy and the productivity of metaphor. We consider questions of metaphor itself, sketch several 'arche-metaphors' that endure through much public and private language about supervision, and conclude with some thoughts about supervision itself as a metaphor of the Enlightenment and the modern university.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSocial Theory and Education Research Volumes 1-4
    EditorsMark Murphy
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Print)9781446253120
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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