The Changing Meanings of Authenticity: An Interpretive Biography of Professors’ Work Experiences

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Vannini, Phillip
This paper contributes to the symbolic interactionist literature on authenticity and the self by drawing from ethnographic research conducted with 46 faculty members at an American public research university. I offer an analysis of the changing meanings of professors’ sense of self across careers, ranks, and hiring cohorts and I suggest the following: (a) professors’ experiences of authenticity and inauthenticity remain similarly frequent throughout their careers; (b) professors’ concept of true self changes considerably from the time they are hired to the time they retire; (c) younger professors need to face different demands and challenges than older professors, as they need to adapt to a different academic social world marked by new practices and conventions surrounding tenure, research, teaching, and service.
This is a pre-print version. Publisher's version is available at DOI: 10.1016/S0163-2396(06)29008-2.
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