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An Exploration of Rhythms in the Contemporary Academy: Time, Space and Affect

Theory and Method in Higher Education Research

ISBN: 978-1-83867-842-5, eISBN: 978-1-83867-841-8

Publication date: 7 October 2019


Drawing on Lefebvre’s theorization of rhythm, this chapter presents and discusses rhythmanalysis as a philosophical orientation and as an experimental methodology for social, cultural, and historical research. In particular, it innovatively deploys rhythmanalysis to explore and investigate the everyday life of the contemporary university. To this end it, critically reviews the methods (and findings) of a pilot project that aimed to capture the rhythmic nature of the quotidian activities of staff and students at a “modern” university in the West Midlands of England (2017–2018). The novel combination of research methods employed, comprising audio-visually recorded walking interviews, time-lapse photography of three campuses, and of classroom/laboratory/studio teaching sessions, is examined to reveal the affordances of rhythmanalysis qua experimental methodology. The concluding section offers a reflection on the intellectual and practical purchase of the rhythmanalytical project while suggesting the possibility to further develop these innovative methods in order to refine current analyses and understandings of the contemporary university.



Dakka, F. and Smith, R. (2019), "An Exploration of Rhythms in the Contemporary Academy: Time, Space and Affect", Theory and Method in Higher Education Research (Theory and Method in Higher Education Research, Vol. 5), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 153-171.



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