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The lack of work and the contemporary university

Thompson, G. and Cook, I. (2019) The lack of work and the contemporary university. In: Peters, M., Jandrić, P. and Means, A., (eds.) Education and Technological Unemployment. Springer, Singapore, pp. 29-44.

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While new technologies are always disruptive of work, employment and education, the particular and contemporary discourse of disappearing jobs and the need to train students for jobs of the future (that is, ‘jobs that don’t exist yet’) has had a significant impact on contemporary universities. The desire to reform universities so that they better serve new economic-technological formations is, for us, both an expression of continuity (universities have always been lacking) and novelty (contemporary universities are lacking in a specific way). The most important effect of the new form of the lack of universities is that it refuses the conception (and practices) of the university as a closed space of disciplined thought and elite scholarship and projects a university open to externality, in particular, the dictates of a labor market represented by anxious precarity (the ever-present possibility, if not inevitability, of un- or underemployment). This opening of the university is not simply effected in terms of educating students. It is also effected through drawing teaching into open spaces of digitally delivered education, an intensification of precarity and the rise of (ever more) managers who participate in discourses that open universities to economic-technological externalities to address their lack.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Global Studies
Publisher: Springer, Singapore
Copyright: © 2019 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
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