Disrupting dominant discourses of the Other: examining experiences of contract researchers in the academy

Jess Harris, Kathleen Smithers, Nerida Spina, Troy Heffernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Internationally, changes to university funding arrangements have put pressure on the workloads of tenured academic staff and increased the reliance on casual academics to backfill teaching and research positions. Limited research has focused on the effects of casualisation on research academics and the institutions in which they work. This paper draws on interviews with 26 contract researchers, who have worked in the US, UK, and Australia. Drawing on the construct of ‘Othering’, identified in our interviews we explore the work of academics employed casually or on contract. Using a Foucauldian lens to make visible and disrupt regimes of truth about academic work, we found that there are numerous ways in which institutional discourses and practices marginalise casual academics and conceal the challenges they face. We argue that the disruption of dominant discourses about academic work is one way of supporting academics whose employment is insecure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Higher Education
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

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