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Reading: Blurring Genres: A Personal Narrative About University Management


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Blurring Genres: A Personal Narrative About University Management


R. A. W. Rhodes

University of Southampton, UK, GB
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Blurring genres involves a shift from naturalist social science to the analogies of game, drama and text. This article combines ethnography, autobiography, literature, and political science to roam the realms of personal narratives or autoethnography. It explores genres of thought and of presentation not commonly found in political science in a story about university management. A personal narrative involves using self-reflection to explore anecdotal and personal experience, and connecting this story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. Commonly, autoethnographies are evocative; that is, they seek to persuade readers that they know these people and have been to these places. Here, I offer an analytic personal narrative; it is storytelling that seeks to marry idiographic particularity with an analysis that speaks to large issues. I present autobiographical material about my academic career as an ‘artificial person’. I use this story to invite the reader to engage with the big issue of the role of the university in Britain today. Finally, I offer some topics for the readers’ ‘consideration’, identifying several personal considerations as well as considerations for political science, and for universities. Although writing personal narratives challenges the conventional canons of social science research about transparency and reliability of data, it also offers an innovative way of understanding the self in the world.

How to Cite: Rhodes, R.A.W., 2021. Blurring Genres: A Personal Narrative About University Management. New Area Studies, 2(1), pp.225–255. DOI:
Published on 12 Nov 2021.
Peer Reviewed


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