'That's just what I do': Placing emotion in academic activism

Kye Askins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, I wish to critically reflect on the role of emotion/s in how I position myself with regards to research, teaching and learning, drawing on experiences over the past 3 years as a human geography lecturer ‘doing’ research with refugees and asylum seekers in a local inner city area. While there has been increasing debate regarding what constitutes ‘the activist-academic’, in particular deconstructing any dualism or border between ‘academic’ and ‘activist’, the motivation for undertaking such a role is generally ascribed to an ‘ideological commitment’ to social and personal change of one type or another. For me, such a commitment cannot be separated from how I feel about the issues that I research, learn and teach about. In particular, I explore how emotions relate across different spaces and places in my life to produce motivation for activism and how that activism – specifically the encounters with people through it – feeds back into emotional geographies across my professional (and personal) endeavours. More broadly, I'm concerned with the ways in which emotional becomings and the interconnectivities across spaces of activity/ism and everyday life play out beyond my own individual subjective experience, but rather are caught up in ‘situated, relational perspectives’ (after Bondi, 2005). I argue that recognising the significance of emotion has implications for how we conduct and disseminate research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-13
JournalEmotion, Space and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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