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Permanently Precarious? Contingent Academic Faculty Members, Professional Identity and Institutional Change in Quebec Universities

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Permanently Precarious? Contingent Academic Faculty Members, Professional Identity and Institutional Change in Quebec Universities

Birdsell Bauer, Louise (2011) Permanently Precarious? Contingent Academic Faculty Members, Professional Identity and Institutional Change in Quebec Universities. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Universities across Canada are increasingly using contingent, or temporary instructors to teach undergraduate courses (Rajagopal 2002, Muzzin 2008, Lin 2006). Scholars have examined the marginalization of contingent academic faculty members in Canadian universities (Rajagopal 2002, Muzzin 2008). They have also critiqued the ways in which universities use contingent faculty to create surplus value and surplus labour (Rajagopal 2002, Bauder 2006), and support a “primary segment” (Bauder 2006) of the tenured and tenure-track professoriate. In this thesis, I examine the key issues faced by contingent academic faculty members, and how these issues impact on their professional identity. I also investigate into how the use of contingent faculty impacts on teaching practices in higher education. Through the analysis of Labour Force Survey data, I ascertain to what extent contingent academic labour has increased from 1998 to 2008, suggesting that full-time temporary labour is on the rise. I then analyze data gathered from twelve interviews with contingent academic faculty members at Quebec universities to explore how their working conditions and experiences have impacted on their professional identity and perceived quality of instruction. I suggest that professional identity among contingent faculty members is not as static as suggested by Rajagopal (2002) or Gappa and Leslie (1993) Using David Harvey’s (2005) concept of neoliberalism and Ulrich Beck’s (1992) concept of the flexibilization of labour under risk society, I situate the flexibilization of academic labour within the neoliberalization of the university, and also point to linkages between contingent academic labour and the commodification of higher education.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Birdsell Bauer, Louise
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology
Date:15 April 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Neves-Graça, Katja
ID Code:7285
Deposited By:LOUISE BIRDSELL BAUER
Deposited On:09 Jun 2011 15:33
Last Modified:09 Jun 2011 15:33
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