Education. Susan Carter’s Voicing the Doctorate Article

Table of Contents


Susan Carter’s Original knowledge, gender and the word’s mythology: Voicing the doctorate (2012) is focused on understanding the ‘voice’ of doctoral writing and the functions it performs in establishing an academic identity for authors.

The article was inspired by the 2010 International Doctoral Education Research Network conference, which the author attended. The author focuses on the practice, process and pedagogy of the doctoral degree. Interests range from candidature experience, thesis structure, and student support tiers, national and institutional affects of policy on candidate experience and the sociology of thesis writing. She seeks to better understand the lived experience of producing a doctorate and current institutional approaches to doctoral pedagogy.

Present paper

The present paper investigates the relationship between such notions as knowledge, words, embodiment and gender and the role which they play out in doctoral voice (Carter, 2012). Underlining great importance of all these phenomena, the author tries to outline the main peculiarities of their functioning and influence they have on the formation of doctoral voice. Analyzing mutual dependence of this notions, the author also underlines some very important requirements which doctoral voice should satisfy, within the framework of modern demands to education. Moreover, the focus of the work is made on the doctoral writing as from the authors point of view it is one of the main remedies which creates the image of modern education and it is where academics establish their voice and are accepted into their discourses as authenticated members (Carter, 2012). Underlining great importance of academic writing, the author outlines main peculiarities of the formation and maintenance of the doctoral voice. Main key points of the issue of doctoral voice are analysed. The author outlines its importance for scientific discourse and relations between students and their teachers. Bight examples of the significance of clear and understandable academic writing are also suggested.

The author also purports that, “Mythology could be used to service value systems, for its vividness, and because old stories often have a poetic force, the ability to connote deep-level meaning in the text”. (Carter, 2012, p.415) She outlines great importance of this phenomenon, underlining the fact that all individuals are affected by it that is why mythology should be widely used in modern educational system. However, it should also not be overestimated as paying much attention to its great influence can also be threatening and even pernicious. Doctoral students nowadays have a great number of different myths connected with this institution. However, they should be warned against excessive mythologization of the process of obtaining knowledge. Each doctorate is connected with its emergent academic voice and mythology and they all form some sort of system. Moreover, the process of producing a doctorate can be taken as the literal act. This comparison shows great mutual dependence between doctoral voice, doctorate and mythology.

Moreover, people who supervise doctoral students are also aware of some modern tendencies. The author states the fact that myths are an integral part of the culture of different peoples and they can contribute a lot to the process of creating a good academic style.

The author also introduces her cogitations about the great importance of knowledge and an important role which new students play in the process of enlarging this knowledge. Very often they are said to create new approaches and new visions. This fact, in its turn, leads to increase of the level of interest among students as they are interested in developing new and significant approaches.

The author comes to the conclusion that academic writing is very symbolic. She cogitates that if writing is gendered symbolically then the writing subject should be constructed with gender as an aspect that is socially inflected, dynamic, affective of both voice and experience, but also, crucially, able to be used knowingly by the thesis writer (Carter, 2012). Moreover, she underlines the fact that the voice is constructed in the mind of a researcher.

Having analysed the whole article, it is possible to say that the author investigates very unusual aspect of doctorate and doctoral voice, introducing new perspectives on traditional questions. The work could be recommended for people who are interested in this issue and want to obtain some new ideas connected with the investigation of dependence between mythology, knowledge and doctoral voice.

Relevance to our project

Susan states, “Just recognizing the complexity and the multiplicity of challenges to establishing voice may help doctoral students and those who support them in negotiating these challenges”.

What is the voice in this project? What voice will inherently be instilled in a supervisory role? What voice are we willing to hear from students? This work can be used to expand existing ideas and open minds to consider more than just a policy and process trajectory for HDR completion. Especially within Avondale as it seeks to attain a national and international standing of excellence while maintaining its core belief system rooted in Christianity.


Carter, S. (2012). Original knowledge, gender and the word’s mythology: voicing the doctorate. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 11(4), 406-417.

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