Producing time and space: academic work after Henri Lefebvre

Spencer, Maureen P. (2013) Producing time and space: academic work after Henri Lefebvre. Legal Studies, 33 (3) . pp. 478-500. ISSN 0261-3875 [Article] (doi:10.1111/j.1748-121X.2012.00263.x)


In a recent study, the influential theorist of higher education Ronald Barnett suggests that one way for academics to address the pressures on their professional lives is to embrace a multidimensional concept of working time. Drawing on the analysis of space by the French philosopher/sociologist Henri Lefebvre, Barnett advocates conceiving academic practice as a continuum of interrelated strands rather than a set of discrete packages of activity subject to bureaucratic domination. This paper examines whether this approach can reassert agency on the part of academics and provide a site for resistance to the obsession on the part of managers and policy makers with outputs and the quantification of working hours. It sets Barnett's analysis in the context of other empirical studies in higher education literature on the management and allocation of workloads, particularly on tensions arising from conflicting demands of research and teaching. It also examines synergies between Barnett and other scholarship on the professional lives of law academics on the part of Bradney, Collier and Cownie. The paper concludes that a Lefebvrean analysis of how time and space are constituted by human activity provides a rigorous theoretical framework within which to reconstitute the coherence in academic practice which is sought by many in higher education.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article first published online: 13 DEC 2012
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 10791
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Maureen Spencer
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2013 06:38
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:27

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