The risks of precarity: How employment insecurity impacts on early career researchers in Australia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores how precarious academics experience and conceive of risks in and to their research, drawing on fieldwork at three Australian universities. Focusing on humanities, arts, and social sciences scholars, I examine the practical and methodological limitations that employment precarity places on early career researchers in these fields, encouraging short-term research that is then often critiqued for failing to meet disciplinary ideals. Moreover, the rise of postdoctoral positions on large, applied projects means that researchers frequently work beyond their interests and expertise. I further point to issues with undertaking “risky” research as a precarious academic, as interviewees talked of being advised to avoid certain kinds of projects. The increasing number of precarious researchers, and lengthening period during which researchers remain precarious, means this has a profound impact on research. Overall, this chapter examines precarity in relation to both emerging risks to early career researchers’ careers and to research itself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearchers at risk
Subtitle of host publicationPrecarity, jeopardy, and uncertainty in academia
EditorsDeborah L Mulligan, Patrick A Danaher
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-53857-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-53856-9
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameStudies in education research methods
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


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