Doing Diversity Work in Higher Education in Australia

Ahmed, Sara. 2006. Doing Diversity Work in Higher Education in Australia. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 38(6), pp. 745-768. ISSN 0013-1857 [Article]

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This paper explores how diversity is used as a key term to describe the social and educational mission of universities in Australia. The paper suggests that we need to explore what diversity ‘does’ in specific contexts. Drawing on interviews with diversity and equal opportunities practitioners, the paper suggests that ‘diversity’ is used in the face of what has been called ‘equity fatigue’. Diversity is associated with what is new, and allows practitioners to align themselves and their units with the existing values of their universities. However, given this, diversity can mean potentially anything: and practitioners have to re-attach the term ‘diversity’ to other more marked terms such as equality and justice if it is to ‘do anything’. The paper explores the appeal of diversity, the strategic nature of diversity work, and the role of commitment, leadership and training. It also offers some more general reflections on how language works within organisations by showing that words, although they do things, are not finished as forms of action: what they do depends not only on how they are used, but how they get taken up.

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Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

06 Oct 2015 10:21

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2016 16:39

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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