Thursday, April 29, 2004

Crisis of the Adjuncts

As a sessional academic, who in any case holds the opinions in Daniel Davies in high regard, I was most interested to read his latest solution to the Adjunct Problem. Unfortunately, in applying a solution that fits only the leafiest of the Ivy League, I think he again misses the mark.

Adjuncts/sessional academics are much less common at elite universities - and if we do temporarily find ourselves on tour at such august institutions, the level of absolute exploitation is considerably lower.

In other words, a large part of the special sort of hell that working as an academic prole consists of is in the overbearing mediocrity of the place - above and beyond all the many other stresses that come with being a second-tier employee. It is thus not the labour supply/demand imbalance that keeps shit jobs at shit institutions still seem relatively desirable; rather, it is the considerable timelag that competent, dedicated academics take to realise this. The shittier the institution (and I work for one of them), the longer it takes to sink in that our invisibility is not even an oversight, much less a ludicrous travesty.

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