Restorying imposter syndrome in the early career stage: reflections, recognitions and resistance

Charlotte Ann Morris*, Laila Kadiwal, Kathryn Telling, Wendy Ashall, Jill Kirby, Shadreck Mwale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores imposter syndrome in relation to early career academic (ECA) experiences. Deploying life history methods, a group of ECAs reflect on feelings of imposterism, located as emerging from educational-occupational biographies in interaction with the structural inequities and working conditions of contemporary academia. ECAs can experience liminality, not perceiving themselves as having arrived as ‘real academics,’ exacerbated by market values which position ECAs as less valuable than those more likely to win high levels of grant income. Academic legitimacy is therefore called into question, generating responses of shame, non-belonging and fear—particularly for precariously employed colleagues. Yet being positioned on the periphery can facilitate critiques of academia’s hierarchical inequities and epistemic violence; this collaboration enabled resistance to individualised neoliberal subjectivities and exclusionary practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Imposter Syndrome in Higher Education
EditorsMichelle Addison, Maddie Breeze, Yvette Taylor
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783030865702
ISBN (Print)9783030865696
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2022


  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Higher Education


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