I It is not often that academics get an opportunity to publish in one volume a number of their papers written over a period of more than two decades. I am, of course delighted to have such a rare opportunity, and thank Routledge for this honor. I realize, however, that this opportunity implies the difficult task of selecting the papers I consider worthy of re-publication, and that I cannot do this adequately without reflecting more broadly on my career, positing on it a greater degree of coherence than was perhaps planned. Indeed, the task of selection has encouraged me to consider how the diverse topics on which I have written are linked to my personal and professional biography, shaped in complicated ways by the opportunities I have had, the theoretical influences on my thinking and the scholars with whom I have had the privilege of working. Furthermore, my reflections have led me to consider the more general sociological question of how academic careers are constituted in an era in which systems of higher education are experiencing major transformations, which inevitably affect the nature of the challenges most academics now face, as well as the opportunities they accept.