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Thresholds in Education








This essay opens space for movement in higher education~student affairs by using poststructural philosophy as a counterweight to balance the corpus of student development theories that create and inscribe in/dividualized subjectivity onto students. Taking up Jones and Stewart’s (2016) structuring of waves in student development theorizing, we unpack régimes of truth that undergird the profession of college student educators: discipline/control (a doubled biopower that centers the whole student), and dividuation (a fracturing of the whole student into component parts). We extend dividuation to include an adherence to representationalism through method in perpetuating and inscribing the student as in/dividual (neoliberal subjectivity). We take up Rosi Braidotti’s concept of nomadic subjectivity—a relational subjectivity—as a counterbalance to the in/dividualizing subjectivities of current student development theorizing. In doing so, we advance queered third wave theorizing, provoking movement and necessary ethical questions for college student educators: what does it mean to give up commonplace notions such as student, development, identity, and method? What possibilities for practice(s) and futurities in higher education~student affairs open by embracing movement?


Thresholds in Education, is an open access online scholarly journal. Authors grant to the Thresholds in Education Foundation and the Academy for Educational Studies all rights to the paper including rights of copyright. The Thresholds in Education Foundation & the Academy for Educational Studies, in turn, agree to grant permission to authors to republish their manuscripts subject only to the condition that Thresholds in Education be given proper credit as the original source and the Academy for Educational Studies as original publisher.

Copyright © 2017 Thresholds in Education Foundation and the Academy for Educational Studies.

Original Publication Citation

Smithers, L. E., & Eaton, P. W. (2017). Nomadic subjectivity: Movement in contemporary student development theory. Thresholds in Education, 40(1), 68-92.