Reconceptualising Discourses of Power in Postgraduate Pedagogies

Alison Bartlett, Gina Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses theories of postgraduate pedagogy through analysing the narratives and metaphors used to represent relationships between supervisors and candidates. It examines current dominant discourses to find the use of hierarchical models and often combative dynamics based on unequal power relations prevail. Some narratives also replicate oppressive patriarchal and Oedipal family dramas. Using an experiential and feminist methodology, the paper then suggests ways around this familial model. It offers some alternative and creative strategies of representation which could shape new forms of supervisory relationships. With an emphasis on the pleasures, rather than the pain of intellectual knowledge making, such models are suggestive rather than prescriptive, and seek to cater for diverse student backgrounds to make the experience of postgraduate research enjoyable, strengthening and completable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-204
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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