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Formulating the academic precariat

Mauri, C.ORCID: 0000-0003-3245-1044 (2019) Formulating the academic precariat. In: Cannizzo, F. and Osbaldiston, N., (eds.) The Social Structures of Global Academia. Routledge, London, pp. 185-204.

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The notion of the precarious proletariat or ‘precariat’ has been receiving revived attention, due largely to the work of the British economist, Guy Standing. Standing argues that spreading insecure employment and the erosion of occupational identities under neoliberalism have led to the precariat emerging as a ‘class-in-the-making’. Emphasising its use as a Weberian ideal-type for defining groups by shared characteristics, this chapter outlines the key ideas in Standing’s formulation and addresses its potential application to the so-called ‘academic precariat’. The characteristics of this group are addressed in respect to their material situations, such as to do with conditions of employment and opportunities for advancement; as well as in respect to experiences concerning organisational relations and occupational identity. Such a formulation can help to elucidate the effect that prevailing structural conditions within universities, such as to do with proletarianisation and casualisation, are having on the makeup of academia and the situations of academics. While the analysis primarily concerns the Australian context, it is emphasised that the conditions and situations discussed are not confined to any single nation.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Routledge
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