Jess Butler


Twitter: @reltubacissej

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Previous Education

BA English with creative writing, Goldsmiths, University of London (2010; first class);

MA Modern Literary Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London (2013; Distinction)

Thesis Title

Competition culture and discourses of success and failure in contemporary English higher education – gendered constructions of ‘ideal’ academics and their impact on academic staff


Dr Anne Cronin (Sociology); Professor Carolyn Jackson (Educational Research)

Research Summary

My project aims to discover in what academic activities, policies, and related literature a culture of competition, and its surrounding discourses of success, winning, and failure, manifest, and how. It investigates whether an ‘ideal’ academic, or multiple ideals, emerges from this, considering in what ways these are gendered constructions, and to what extent images of the ideal are internalised or resisted by individual academics. What is the personal and professional impact of negotiating any disparity between the perceived ideal and subjective identities, values, and aptitudes? My research considers what these questions can offer to wider discussions of inequality in higher education and its potential remedies.

Research interests

Gender; literary and cultural theory; epistemology; higher education; discourse analysis; sociolinguistics; ‘French’ feminism; metaphor; neoliberalism; subjectivity and identity; discourse and ideology

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