Move or perish? Sticky mobilities in the Swiss academic context

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State: Public
Version: Final published version
License: CC BY 4.0
Serval ID
serval:BIB_D7E572DAD1AE
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Move or perish? Sticky mobilities in the Swiss academic context
Journal
Higher Education
Author(s)
Sautier Marie
ISSN
0018-1560
1573-174X
Publication state
Published
Issued date
29/05/2021
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Language
english
Notes
Article accessible en open access à https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10734-021-00722-7
Abstract
This article uses a context of increasing institutional demand to be geographically mobile to examine how early-career researchers move across borders. I explore the case of Swiss academia, a particularly competitive and attractive environment with the highest levels of inbound and outbound mobility in Europe. In line with the aims of the European Research Area, an EU programme created in 2000 to foster a pan-European academic labour market, Switzerland funds scientific mobility and promotes extended research trips abroad as tools to boost collaboration and research excellence. Therefore, Swiss institutions have valued mobility for professional and personal development. In the meantime, they have raised concerns about female academics not being mobile and the potential consequences of their local family ties on career inequalities. In this study, I explore how early-career researchers experience mobility and how their personal accounts challenge institutional definitions of being mobile or immobile. I draw on a qualitative analysis of 65 semi-structured interviews conducted for two EU research projects on early-career academics from various backgrounds. I show how empirical data question the traditional—and often gendered—mobile/immobile dichotomy. I also highlight how mobility practices are normalised by the interviewees. Moreover, using the concept of stickiness, I describe a subtle range of sticky-to-stretchy mobility experiences influenced by both structural and individual factors. Finally, through the figure of the geoccasional worker, I question romanticised visions of mobility and stress the need to reconsider mobility as a (gendered) precarity issue rather than as a female problem.
Keywords
Academic mobility, Sticky mobility, Early-career researchers, Casualisation, Precarity, Postdoctorate, Work-life balance
Open Access
Yes
Funding(s)
University of Lausanne
Swiss National Science Foundation
Create date
01/06/2021 11:04
Last modification date
20/08/2021 6:40
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