chapter  4
14 Pages

‘Team’ supervision: new positionings in doctoral education pedagogies: Catherine Manathunga

Like much poststructuralist research, this chapter seeks to denaturalize team supervision policy in order to understand how it came to be understood as ‘desirable and inevitable’ (Marston, 2004: 124). It adopts a genealogical approach that is designed to ‘locate the precontext, to plot a particular historical “surface of emergence” ’ (Hook, 2005: 14) of contemporary policy and pedagogical practices based on the work of Foucault (1977). Tyler and Johnson (1991) have suggested that genealogy is a kind of ‘helpful history’ that traces how the present has come to take the form and shape that it has. Hook (2005: 4), drawing on Foucault’s (1977) notion of genealogy as an ‘effective history’, emphasizes how genealogy is primarily a ‘mode of critique’. Genealogy, therefore, assists us to make familiar, current educational policies and practices strange so that we might identify the competing systems of meanings and positioning circulating at any one historical moment (Hook, 2005). This allows us to track how some meanings and subjectivities become dominant and others disappear or even become impossible to articulate at a particular time in history and in a specific place or location. So in this chapter I am trying to understand the implicit assumptions embedded in this shift to team supervision and the particular historical, epistemic and cultural conditions for its emergence. In particular, I would like to explore why anything other than team supervision has become unthinkable, at least in policy discourses, if not in actual practice. Therefore, this involved a close and critical [re]reading of the policy texts produced during the late 1990s and 2000s in the Australian context by the peak forum of leaders of graduate studies (Council of Australian Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies – DDOGS) and by one research-intensive university (the University of Queensland – UQ). While there has not been a great deal of supervision policy discourse work, two notable exceptions are Grant’s (2001) chapter deconstructing the positioning of the student and the supervisor in supervision codes of practice and Bills’ (2002) paper, which traces the discourses of management in supervision codes of good practice. Bills’ analysis touches on co-supervision, highlighting how the policy constructs the most significant relationships in supervision as those between the supervisors rather than between the supervisor and student or ‘candidate’. She also suggests that the policy suggests that associate supervisors are ‘involved, not with the candidate, but with the development of the proposal’ (Bills, 2002: 7).