Expertise and the PhD: Between depth and a flat place

Barnacle, R, Schmidt, C and Cuthbert, D 2019, 'Expertise and the PhD: Between depth and a flat place', Higher Education Quarterly, vol. 73, no. 2, pp. 168-181.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Expertise and the PhD: Between depth and a flat place
Author(s) Barnacle, R
Schmidt, C
Cuthbert, D
Year 2019
Journal name Higher Education Quarterly
Volume number 73
Issue number 2
Start page 168
End page 181
Total pages 14
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Abstract Expertise is under sustained interrogation. We see it in so-called edu-scepticism and pessimism about graduates' apparently diminishing employment prospects, challenges to the role of Higher Education institutions as arbiters of knowledge and post-truth rhetoric more broadly. This paper examines how the PhD is being discursively positioned in this context. We ask what these changing conceptions of expertise, education and work mean for how PhD-level expertise is understood. Drawing on a range of sources, from the scholarly to the wider media, we draw together five exemplar models of expertise to expose the transforming ratio between generalist, transferable skills and specialist knowledge. The evident diminution of specialisation raises numerous issues for the PhD as it is increasingly called upon to serve multiple and potentially contradictory needs: an innovation society on the one hand and the discipline on the other. Reconciling the tension between depth and breadth is an important issue for a degree whose hallmark is-or at least has been-depth.
Subject Education not elsewhere classified
DOI - identifier 10.1111/hequ.12181
Copyright notice © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN 0951-5224
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