Chasing the carrot: Is science a precarious profession?

28 Aug

Here’s an interesting short text published by a student at Jena University called Matthias Nies, which looks at the ways in which ‘carrots’ function to drive precarious working practices not just in the field of culture but also in academia. It’s a pretty useful and relevant text, using some 6 Theses on Pracarious work by Manuel Castels to talk about the university – the text was published in a Journal for young academics last winter.

image from our sister collective 'nine to five' in hamburg

image from our sister collective 'nine to five' in hamburg

It’s in german unfortunately, except for a blurb (below). Great impulse for thinking around a double critique of the university as a site of reproduction of precarious labour not just for various supercompetitive job markets (such as the arts) but also as the exemplary site of carrot work in itself (addressing its research cultures and forms of employment).

Chasing the carrot
Is science a precarious profession?

Scientific work is characterized by a certain kind of abeyance. On the one hand scientific workers have a highly autonomous workplace, find their work to be meaningful and themselves to be professionals. On the other hand they have to live with financial insecurity and unclear prospects for a very long time. This profile lets one ask for the precarious potential of scientific work. This text aligns central findings of the scientific investigation of precariousness and in a first approach corre- lates them with the characteristics of science. It becomes obvious that the subjective procession of material and institutional risks of precariousness lead to a dominant pattern of individual problem solving and forbearance which constrains the apperception of options for collective action.

Neis M: Chasing the carrot – is science a precarious profession? German Journal for Young Re- searchers 2009/1(1)
Full german text here

URN: urn:nbn:de:0253-2009-1-90

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