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“The Precariat, Ph.D”: Relating Standing’s notion to contingent academic labour

Mauri, C.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-3245-1044 (2015) “The Precariat, Ph.D”: Relating Standing’s notion to contingent academic labour. In: Refereed Proceedings of TASA 2015 Conference, 23 - 26 November 2015, Cairns, QLD, Australia pp. 250-255.


With precarious modes of employment becoming normalised across almost every sector of the economy, we are witnessing an expanding glut in contingent academic labour. This has led to a revival of the notion of the precariat (precarious+ proletariat), thanks in no small part to the work of economist, Guy Standing (2011). Standing argues that the rise in insecure labour and corresponding erosion of occupational narratives has led to the emergence of the precariat as a highly significant “class-in-the-making”. This quasi-class-based notion resists the paradigmatic individualism of neoliberalism, by framing individual precariousness in the context of broader socio-economic trends. However, while those in contingent academic labour are a part of this group, the inclusion of academic workers in Standing’s formulation contradicts several of its key conditions, which he lays out regarding the precariat’s lack of labour related security. This paper addresses this limitation by connecting the precariat to the complementary notion of the cognitariat (cognitive+ proletariat); thereby opening it up to considerations specific to academic labour, and contributing to both the inclusiveness and nuance of what is set to become an increasingly relevant notion.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Copyright: © TASA 2015
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