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Development of Teaching Academics in the Academic Labor Market in Germany

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Natalia Karmaeva

This study is an empirical and a theoretical contribution to academic labor market research in the social and educational sciences. The main focus is the situation of young academics who teach at German universities. Both the role of research and teaching in the academic labor market as well as opportunities for professional development in academia and beyond for those who teach are investigated. The study reveals how structures of the academic labor market, including academic culture, affect career decisions and development opportunities of young academics. The findings demonstrate how academics reconstruct the relation between teaching and research in their practice and how they seek new ways in making teaching meaningful in their working lives. The monograph proposes a model for evaluating the agency of academics and identifies the potential for social innovations in academia.
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Chapter 2 Towards the evaluation of the agency of teaching academics in the academic labor market in Germany

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Chapter 2: Towards the evaluation of the agency of teaching academics in the academic labor market in Germany

Introduction

This chapter considers the conceptual basis of the capability approach and neo-institutional sociological theories on agency for the study of the development of academics who teach in the context of the academic labor market in Germany. This chapter starts with difficulties in operationalizing the capability approach. They arise due to the fact that what is at the core of the definition of development in the capability approach is individually valued states. Therefore, there is a need to look at the various development states and their dynamics in order to capture the meanings that individuals ascribe to them. The capability approach admits the importance of social innovations in the development and calls for the evaluation of existing structures (culture, traditions). Still, what is understood by social structure has to be more rigorously investigated and introduced into the evaluation of development. Additionally, there is a lack of approaches which include a consideration of the dynamics of social structure. For that reason, this chapter discusses the potential of sociological structuralist accounts for enriching the concept of structure in the capability framework.

Firstly, the questions of what social structures are and how they contribute to action are addressed. Some perspectives on social structures on the meso-level are outlined, which define the context and the course of action, and thus affect decision-making. Importantly, meaning is a part...

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