Academic domains as political battlegrounds: A global enquiry by 99 academics in the fields of education and technology

Abdulrahman E. Al Lily, Jed Foland, David Stoloff, Aytac Gogus, Inan Deniz Erguvan, Mapotse Tomé Awshar, Jo Tondeur, Michael Hammond, Isabella M. Venter, Paul Jerry, Dimitrios Vlachopoulos, Aderonke Oni, Yuliang Liu, Radim Badosek, María Cristina López de la Madrid, Elvis Mazzoni, Hwansoo Lee, Khamsum Kinley, Marco Kalz, Uyanga SambuuTatiana Bushnaq, Niels Pinkwart, Nafisat Afolake Adedokun-Shittu, Pär Ola Mikael Zander, Kevin Oliver, Lúcia Maria Teixeira Pombo, Jale Balaban Sali, Sue Gregory, Sonam Tobgay, Mike Joy, Jan Elen, Mustafa Odeh Helal Jwaifell, Mohd Nihra Haruzuan Mohamad Said, Yeslam Al-Saggaf, Antoanela Naaji, Julie White, Kathy Jordan, Jackie Gerstein, Ibrahim Umit Yapici, Camilius Sanga, Paul T. Nleya, Boubker Sbihi, Margarida Rocha Lucas, Victor Mbarika, Torsten Reiners, Sandra Schön, Laura Sujo-Montes, Mohammad Santally, Päivi Häkkinen, Abdulkarim Al Saif, Andreas Gegenfurtner, Steven Schatz, Virginia Padilla Vigil, Catherine Tannahill, Siria Padilla Partida, Zuochen Zhang, Kyriacos Charalambous, António Moreira, Mayela Coto, Kumar Laxman, Helen Sara Farley, Mishack T. Gumbo, Ali Simsek, E. Ramganesh, Rita Birzina, Catarina Player-Koro, Roza Dumbraveanu, Mmankoko Ziphorah, Nawaz Mohamudally, Sarah Thomas, Margarida Romero, Mungamuru Nirmala, Lauren Cifuentes, Raja Zuhair Khaled Osaily, Ajayi Clemency Omoogun, S. Sadi Seferoglu, Alev Elçi, Dave Edyburn, Kannan Moudgalya, Martin Ebner, Rosa Bottino, Elaine Khoo, Luis Pedro, Hanadi Buarki, Clara Román-Odio, Ijaz A. Qureshi, Mahbub Ahsan Khan, Carrie Thornthwaite, Sulushash Kerimkulova, Toni Downes, Lauri Malmi, Salih Bardakci, Jamil Itmazi, Jim Rogers, Soonil D.D.V. Rughooputh, Mohammed Ali Akour, J. Bryan Henderson, Sara de Freitas, P. G. Schrader

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article theorizes the functional relationship between the human components (i.e., scholars) and non-human components (i.e., structural configurations) of academic domains. It is organized around the following question: in what ways have scholars formed and been formed by the structural configurations of their academic domain? The article uses as a case study the academic domain of education and technology to examine this question. Its authorship approach is innovative, with a worldwide collection of academics (99 authors) collaborating to address the proposed question based on their reflections on daily social and academic practices. This collaboration followed a three-round process of contributions via email. Analysis of these scholars’ reflective accounts was carried out, and a theoretical proposition was established from this analysis. The proposition is of a mutual (yet not necessarily balanced) power (and therefore political) relationship between the human and non-human constituents of an academic realm, with the two shaping one another. One implication of this proposition is that these non-human elements exist as political ‘actors’, just like their human counterparts, having ‘agency’ – which they exercise over humans. This turns academic domains into political (functional or dysfunctional) ‘battlefields’ wherein both humans and non-humans engage in political activities and actions that form the identity of the academic domain. For more information about the authorship approach, please see Al Lily AEA (2015) A crowd-authoring project on the scholarship of educational technology. Information Development. doi: 10.1177/0266666915622044.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-288
Number of pages19
JournalInformation Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun. 2017


  • academia
  • academic domain
  • crowd-authoring
  • education
  • organizational politics
  • power
  • technology


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