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Research Focus on Institutional Cultures

Contact: Professor Louise Vincent l.vincent@ru.ac.za

Institutional culture refers to “[t]he way things are done within an organisation [which are encapsulated within] its traditions, customs, values and shared understandings; the practices engaged in and those practices that are rewarded and supported” (Rhodes University Equity Policy, 2004:4). This research focus has as its starting point the desire to understand how discriminatory practices in universities are enabled by institutional cultures which perpetuate themselves at the micro level of daily interactions and in many different contexts ranging from residence life, to teaching, research, social interaction, working life and many others. Discriminatory practices are often reproduced at the level of everyday life in ways that may seem intangible and difficult to capture. Employing a variety of innovative methods of qualitative research and analysis this research aims to find ways to both surface and challenge some of these hard to get at features of institutional life that play such an important role in preventing all who people the institution from thriving in equal measure and both benefitting and contributing to our full potential.

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