Precarity and dehumanisation in higher education

Olivia Mason*, Nick Megoran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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The increased reliance of universities on a pool of highly skilled but poorly paid casualised academic labour for teaching and research has emerged as a defining feature of higher education provision under neoliberal New Public Management. Based on seventeen visual timeline interviews with academics in the North East of England, this article augments and extends existing studies of precarity through a framing of dehumanisation and humanisation. Specifically, we suggest that casualisation is dehumanising in four ways: it renders individuals invisible; it leaves them vulnerable to exploitation; it denies them academic freedom; and it hampers them in constructing a life narrative projecting into the future. We conclude that casualisation is not simply the product of a reprehensible political economy, but that it is an afront to the very meaning and dignity of being human.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-59
Number of pages25
JournalLearning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

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