Invisible anger: Intergenerational dependence and resentment among precarious academics

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Scholars of European, North American, and other global North universities have observed a significant generational shift in academic staff’s employment conditions. Aspiring academics are now subject to extended or indefinite periods of precarious employment, in contrast with a shrinking pool of relatively permanent academics, who largely gained employment many decades ago. Yet relations between these groups are rarely explored in depth. In this chapter, I offer an anthropological account of Australian precarious academics’ understandings and experiences of academic work in relation to their more permanently employed colleagues. I draw attention to patterns of intergenerational hierarchy and dependence, which led precarious academics to feel frustrated and resentful. Their dependence on stably employed colleagues meant that they rarely raised these issues within their workplaces, but, rather, used online fora and collectivities to voice their critiques. Although limited in their reach, I argue that such critiques raise possibilities for future resistance and change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntergenerational responsibility in the 21st century
EditorsJulia M. Puaschunder
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherVernon Press
ISBN (Print)9781622731022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Publication series

NameSeries in Economic Development


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