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Subcontracting Academia: Alienation, Exploitation and Disillusionment in the UK Overseas Syrian Refugee Research Industry

Sukarieh, M; Tannock, S; (2019) Subcontracting Academia: Alienation, Exploitation and Disillusionment in the UK Overseas Syrian Refugee Research Industry. Antipode , 51 (2) pp. 664-680. 10.1111/anti.12502. Green open access

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Abstract

As the political economy of social science research has shifted, subcontracted research assistants have taken over an ever growing part of the research process. In this article, we report on a case study of the experiences of local research assistants employed on UK‐directed research projects on Syrian refugees in Lebanon. While refugee research is framed in the UK as a noble project of helping the world's most vulnerable, these assistants speak critically of their sense of alienation, exploitation and disillusionment with the research they work on. Such problems arise, we argue, not just from subcontracted labour relations in the workplace itself, but also the broader political economy of how overseas social science research is currently produced. Addressing these problems requires giving better recognition to the work, interests and concerns of research assistants, but also rethinking and restructuring the global production of social science research more generally.

Type: Article
Title: Subcontracting Academia: Alienation, Exploitation and Disillusionment in the UK Overseas Syrian Refugee Research Industry
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/anti.12502
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12502
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: alienation, exploitation, grant culture, refugee research, research assistants, subcontracted research
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10067276
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