Toward Tenure: Developing a Relational View


  • Paul Betts University of Winnipeg
  • Ralph T. Mason University of Manitoba
  • Catherine Casey University of Manitoba



To make sense of their different experiences with tenure, three education professors inquire into tenure as an institutional process using postmodern constructs. Foucault's panopticon, with its subsidiary ideas of surveillance and docile bodies provided a fresh perspective for viewing the power differential between pre-tenure professors and those tenured professors who will judge their adequacy for tenure status. Second, the authors used Baudrillard's simulacrum to understand differently their colleagues' attempts to simplify the challenge of tenure through the provision of unofficial statements of expected outputs. The vulnerability of new scholars due to the power differential within tenure is substantial, but such vulnerability may be a coherent consequence of the institution's structure. Rather than reforming tenure as an institutional process, the authors suggest that conversations about identity-making and tenure take place within relationships with colleagues.