how working-class academics are set up to fail

work­ing as a (very) minor aca­d­e­m­ic in art schools and FE col­leges in the 1980s was for me an often enjoy­able but relent­less­ly inse­cure exis­tence. this cul­mi­nat­ed in my giv­ing up alto­geth­er and tak­ing a teach­ing job in japan. a depar­ture which sev­ered for­ev­er what­ev­er pre­ten­sions i had at that time con­cern­ing an aca­d­e­m­ic career. at the height of the thatch­er era, when bud­gets for art schools were being ruth­less­ly slashed, i remem­ber the tragedy of my final inter­view for a posi­tion at a scot­tish high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tu­tion. i was short­list­ed, i was told, from over 400 appli­ca­tions. so i should feel flattered.

my fel­low short­lis­tees includ­ed a man with a doc­tor­ate, and sev­er­al pub­lished books. anoth­er was a for­mer bbc film-mak­er. that was what i was up against. i had spent the pre­vi­ous evening in my hotel room throw­ing up in the bath­room, and des­per­ate­ly try­ing to cob­ble togeth­er a short pre­sen­ta­tion (on roland barthes and michele fou­cault) if mem­o­ry serves. i didn’t get the job, but man­aged to elic­it a few smiles from the inter­view­ing pan­el. read­ing the fol­low­ing i’m not encour­aged that much has changed. cer­tain­ly noth­ing seems to have improved

How Work­ing-Class Aca­d­e­mics Are Set Up to Fail: “By Ross Clare Pre­car­i­ty and low pay in mod­ern uni­ver­si­ties mean that young aca­d­e­mics often have to work mul­ti­ple jobs to make ends meet. If neolib­er­al reforms con­tin­ue, the future is clear: acad­e­mia will once again become the pre­serve of a social elite.”

(Via .)

How Work­ing-Class Aca­d­e­mics Are Set Up to Fail

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