Diversity in the Academy? Staff Perceptions of Equality Policies in Six Contemporary Higher Education Institutions

Deem, Rosemary and Morley, Louise (2006) Diversity in the Academy? Staff Perceptions of Equality Policies in Six Contemporary Higher Education Institutions. Policy Futures in Education, 4 (2). pp. 185-202. ISSN 1478-2103

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Abstract

The article is based on recent research involving qualitative case studies of staff experiences of equality policies in six English, Scottish and Welsh higher education institutions (HEIs). Recent changes to UK legislation (e.g. on `race¿ and disability) and a series of European Union employment directives (including on religion and sexual orientation) have caused more attention to be paid to equality policies and their implementation in higher education. The wider context for equality policies has also changed, from a predominant focus on individuals and redistributive equality policies to viewing inequality as a generic and relative concept which can be policy-mainstreamed, with greater concentration on organisational cultures and diversity and a focus on recognitional rather than redistributive approaches to inequality. The article uses the authors¿ recent research findings to consider how higher education institution employees who participated in the study understood notions of equality and diversity. There is a particular focus on whether different forms of inequality are seen to be interconnected, whether diversity is seen as desirable by most employees interviewed, the potential tensions and conflicts between equality policies applying to students and those concerned with staff and the visions of equitable HEIs of the future held by senior managers. It is suggested that whilst all HEIs studied had equality policies and senior managers who have benefited from equality training, nevertheless the shift away from redistributional notions of inequality (except in respect of occupational inequality) towards greater emphasis on recognitional forms, the tensions between student and staff equality issues, and the pursuit of organisational diversity may reflect a relative depoliticisation of the staff equality agenda in higher education.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Louise Morley
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:19
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2012 09:32
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30747
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