Postdigital Positionality

Developing Powerful Inclusive Narratives for Learning, Teaching, Research and Policy in Higher Education

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This book challenges the notion that static principles of inclusive practice can be embedded and measured in Higher Education. It introduces the original concept of postdigital positionality as a dynamic lens through which inclusivity policies in universities might be reimagined. Much is written about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) based on an assumption that such principles are already ‘established’ in educational institutions, to ensure fairness and opportunity for all. In this book, readers are asked: what does an airing cupboard have in common with ‘cancel culture’? This opens a provocative debate concerning the disconnect between EDI policy agendas and the widespread digitalisation of society. Written as Covid-19 has converged with existing political economic spaces of technology, culture, data and digital poverty, Postdigital Positionality calls for more ecologically sustainable inclusivity policies.

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  • Prologue Opening the Airing Cupboard from All Sides
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Positionality in a Postdigital Context
  • Chapter 2 Rationalisation of Higher Education and the Postdigital Context
  • Chapter 3 Postdigital Positionality as a Learner
  • Chapter 4 Postdigital Positionality as a Teacher
  • Chapter 5 Postdigital Positionality as a Researcher
  • Chapter 6 Postdigital Positionality as a Leader and Policy Maker
  • Chapter 7 Conclusions on Postdigital Futures
Sarah Hayes, Ph.D. (2015), Aston University, Birmingham, is Professor of Higher Education Policy at University of Wolverhampton. She has published articles, edited collections and is the author of The Labour of Words in Higher Education: Is it Time to Reoccupy Policy? (Brill Sense, 2019).
[...] "The impact on inclusivity policy has been overlooked in this recognition, and Hayes’ major contribution with this book is to draw our attention to the need to attend to inclusivity policies and to their current separation from policies on ‘technology enhanced learning’".
"For Hayes, the pandemic has helped to reveal some of the injustices previously concealed in neoliberal policies and practices. Biology, technology and culture are inextricably linked in failures of social justice and the author is in a strong position at this time to point out how. [...] The pandemic has uncovered disturbing implications of this for both the humanities and computing and their related fields; the need to work together is paramount. There are other global imperatives ahead. We shall need to be clear about our individual and collective postdigital positionalities".
Christine Sinclair in Postdigital Science and Education , May 28, 2021.
Acknowledgements
List of Figures
Author’s Positionality Statement

Prologue: Opening the Airing Cupboard from All Sides
 1 Virtual Airing Cupboards
 2 Postdigital Airing Cupboards
 3 Airing New Postdigital Policy Discourse
 4 Viral Discourse in the Virtual Airing Cupboard
 5 The Construction of Language
 6 Positionalities
 7 Cancel Culture
 8 Inclusivity
 9 Inclusion in Policy Discourse and a Need for Postdigital Dialogue
 10 Inclusion in Decisions about our Data Requires Some ‘Re-plumbing’
 11 McDonaldisation of a Virus
 12 Postdigital Inclusivity
 13 Can Universities Really ‘Capture’, ‘Measure’ or ‘Deliver’ Inclusivity?
 14 Inclusivity Is Not a Static Concept That Institutions Can Control
 15 New Ethics and Ownership Questions

Introduction
 1 Postdigital Positionality
 2 Covid-19
 3 Covid-19 Positionalities
 4 A ‘New Normal’ for Institutions, Different ‘New Normals’ for Each of Us, or Both?
 5 HE Policies That Self-Isolate
 6 Precarity, Disadvantage and the Rationalisation of Academic Labour
 7 Politics, Ethics and Human Attributes in the Virtual Airing Cupboard
 8 Inclusive Practice for Algorithmic Identities
 9 Rationality or Positionality
 10 New Postdigital Understandings of Interpersonal Relations and Inclusivity
 11 The Debate to Come

1 Positionality in a Postdigital Context
 1 Why Is Postdigital Positionality a Matter for Everyone?
 2 Positionality in a Traditional Sense
 3 Postdigital Positionality in a Pandemic

2 Rationalisation of Higher Education and the Postdigital Context
 1 The Shared Political Economic Spaces of Technology and Culture
 2 Airing Debate on Postdigital Positionality

3 Postdigital Positionality as a Learner
 1 Learning, Experience and Inclusion as Personal and Embodied, Not Rationally Audited
 2 Resisting the Iron Cage of ‘the Student Experience’

4 Postdigital Positionality as a Teacher
 1 Measuring What Exactly, and Why?
 2 Finding New, Personal and Plural Starting Points from Which to Teach

5 Postdigital Positionality as a Researcher
 1 The McPolicy of Research Excellence
 2 Scientific Research, Crises and Convergences

6 Postdigital Positionality as a Leader and Policy Maker
 1 What Is Shaping the University and What Might the University Now Shape?
 2 Ecological Approaches towards Policy That Begin from Positionality Not Rationality

7 Conclusions on Postdigital Futures
 1 When Biological Environments Change Social Arrangements Need to Alter Too

Glossary
References
Index
All interested in equality, diversity and inclusion in the postdigital context that Higher Education now occupies, including students, lecturers, researchers, leaders, policymakers, specialists and local and international cross-sector partners.
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