Rage, repetition and incomprehension in precarious work

Monday, June 6th, 2011

The following is the text of an open letter sent to the President of the University of Paris-8 by a teacher in visual arts. She’s losing her job because of a particularly Kafkaesque circumstance: she doesn’t make enough money from art to maintain her tax status as an artist, and in France there’s a regulation […]

Early fragments on the intellectual precariat

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Contemporary commentators often give us the sense that the increasing precarity of academic work is a recent and novel phenomenon. As I’ve noted before, in the American case this sometimes seems to rest on the historically inaccurate fantasy of a previous Golden Era of tenure, even though tenure, on further investigation, was apparently a rather […]

A sense of precarity

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

College students who turn more or less consciously and hopefully to philosophy for enlightenment are, at bottom, in search of a satisfying life. They may have a pretty clear idea of what this includes. “It means,” said a football man whom I asked what he meant by a satisfying life, “employment, a fair income, the […]

Testimonials of precarity in French universities, part 2

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Here we have a second testimonial of precarious life in French universities, one that comes not from a temporary worker but from a doctoral student struggling to finish her thesis. This one has to be filed under the genre of the public lament: a political genre which, it comes to mind in passing, deserves further […]

Testimonials of precarity in French universities

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

When the report on precarity in higher education was first publicly released, the presentation was followed by a number of panel discussions. Here I’m going to try to translate a few people’s personal tales of precarity. Today we’ll start with that of Aurélie Legrand. Moderator: We have all been precarious at one time or another… […]

French press release: Putting an end to precarity

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Monday afternoon this week there was a big meeting in a fancy auditorium at the CRNS (National Center for Scientific Research). I say it was fancy because the audience’s chairs were padded bright red, a long coat rack held a long row of dark coats, and, unlike the plebian amphitheatres at the public universities, this […]

Testimonials of precarity in American academia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I’m about to post a few things about precarious jobs and political responses to precarious jobs in French higher education, but before I do that, I wanted to call a bit of attention to this fragment of a personal narrative of precarious work in American higher ed, which I came across by chance in an […]