The unsustainability of academic aeromobility in Australian universities

Glover, A, Strengers, Y and Lewis, T 2017, 'The unsustainability of academic aeromobility in Australian universities', Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1-12.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

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Title The unsustainability of academic aeromobility in Australian universities
Author(s) Glover, A
Strengers, Y
Lewis, T
Year 2017
Journal name Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy
Volume number 13
Issue number 1
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Publisher ProQuest
Abstract This article analyzes how certain forms of unsustainable hypermobility - primarily air travel - are embedded in the institutional orientations of Australian universities, and hence, into the professional practices of academics in the country. Academic air travel is commonly recognized as a key component of a scholar's ability to cultivate and maintain international collaborations, achieve high-impact journal publications and win large research grants. Despite the environmental sustainability implications that regular international and domestic air travel entails, a normative system of 'academic aeromobility' has developed. We discuss the results of a qualitative textual analysis of Australian university-sustainability policies as well as research and internationalization strategies. We find that the ambitions of academic institutions to reduce carbon emissions from air travel are discordant with broader policies and strategic orientations around international mobility. These findings foreground the paradoxical relationship between many university-sustainability policies and the sector's broader strategic aims of internationalization and mobility of staff and students, suggesting the limits to piecemeal approaches to organizational policy and practices pertaining to sustainability. We conclude by discussing the role of technology and 'slow scholarship' as a means to reduce academic aeromobility.
Subject Environmental Sociology
Keyword(s) Academic practice
Academic politics
DOI - identifier 10.1080/15487733.2017.1388620
Copyright notice © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
ISSN 1548-7733
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