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The proletarianisation of academic labour in Australia

McCarthy, G., Song, X. and Jayasuriya, K. (2017) The proletarianisation of academic labour in Australia. Higher Education Research & Development, 36 (5). pp. 1017-1030.

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Australian universities over the last 25 years have been unified, internationalised, corporatised and become mass educational providers. This process is replicated globally as a response to rapid mass enrolments and marketisation. In the light of these changes, a corporate and managerial model has been identified, which has been the subject of growing discontent within the academic workforce. However, from a political economy perspective there is a lack of understanding on how and by what means academic labour has been commodified in this process. This paper, using Australia as its case study, argues that the managerial culture has alienated academics from their labour. This has resulted in them losing control over their skills and thus becoming disassociated from the educational purposes of their work. Higher education has been subjected to systemic regulatory governance that has fundamentally transformed the nature of academic labour. We contend that the regulatory state has reached so deep down into the university that academics have effectively become a de-professionalised and proletarianised labour force.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Politics and International Studies
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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