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Precarity in the ivory cage: Neoliberalism and casualisation of work in the Irish higher education sector

Courtois, ADM; O'Keefe, T; (2015) Precarity in the ivory cage: Neoliberalism and casualisation of work in the Irish higher education sector. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies , 13 (1) Green open access

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Abstract

The higher education sector in Ireland has undergone major changes under the effect of neoliberalism including severe budget cuts, transfer of research funding to external agencies, reduction in permanent contracts and increased reliance on part-time, temporary staff for teaching and research roles. The neoliberalisation of the university, as in other countries, has dramatically changed the nature of work undertaken on behalf of the institution. Permanent jobs increasingly disappear in favour of low-paid, temporary employment. Such work comes without security, proper remuneration or benefits, and renders invisible the precarious workers whose labour the university relies on to function. Based on the results of an outreach project on casual academic labour practices, this paper reports on the discernible patterns in the work of the precariat in Irish higher education. Our results indicate that casualisation in the Irish context is systemic, gendered, and not the preserve of junior academics. We also suggest it predates austerity and has become so endemic that there are now few exit points out of precarious work and as such, many are now trapped in a hamster wheel of precarity.

Type: Article
Title: Precarity in the ivory cage: Neoliberalism and casualisation of work in the Irish higher education sector
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.jceps.com/archives/2458
Language: English
Keywords: Higher education; casualisation; neoliberalism; ireland; academic work; gender inequality in higher education
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1538710
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