Academic socialization at the postdoc stage

How do academics become competitive?

This project, which I conduct with Kathia Serrano Velarde (University of Heidelberg), analyses the socializing effects of academic competitions on postdocs. The study is designed to capture intrapersonal development in time through a qualitative panel study.

Proceeding from a combination of socialization theory and sociology of (e)valuation, we argue that postdocs learn two things when participating in academic competitions: On the one hand, they realize that academic competitions are constitutive for the allocation of reputation, employment and resources. On the other hand, postdocs learn to deal with the demands of multiple competition and to position themselves in different types of competitions.

We propose to approach the phenomenon of postdoc socialization by (1) investigating the relationship between competition and socialization. In doing so, we focus on the nexus between competitive attributions, postdocs’ self-perception and their coping strategies with multiple competition. (2) Furthermore, we want to understand how experiences with academic competitions influence individual career and labor market expectations.

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation and part of the research union “Multiple Competition in the Higher Education System”.

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