As the Adjunctiverse Turns

cheeky, no respect for academia

Cartoon of the day

Belatedly, I notice that precarity etc (the social media edition) has been experiencing a Ruccio (@Dfruccio) gap. Previously we syndicated Occasional Links & Commentary to our Facebook page, Precarious life & times via NetWorkedBlogs, phasing out but still still supporting legacy subscribers. On June 6, NWB finally pulled the plug, disabling the last remaining features.

For now, I’ll re-blog manually but may syndicate again directly on Dlvr: so no more Ruccio deprivation

occasional links & commentary


Special mention

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A National Adjunct/Contingent Caucus: What it Can and Should Be.

The Adjunct Crisis

On July 14th at the Biennial AFT National Convention, members of the American Federation of Teachers Adjunct Contingent Caucus will convene to select caucus leaders who, in the face of a post-Janus America, along the increasing threats expanding labor contingency and academic corporatization, must work in conferring with and guiding AFT to more effectively understand and act upon adjunct contingent Issues.  To be effective at this task, here are the basic steps and actions it must undertake, or encourage the High Ed. Division of AFT to undertake:

  1. Define and Recognize the Varying Degrees of Educational Labor Contingency

Adjunct/Contingent teacher plight is in part plagued by a literal soup of job titles from, “part-time” and “adjunct,” to “associate,” “lecturer,” and “non-tenure track.” The wide variety of these terms, none of which are truly understood by a general, non-academic public, only serves to shroud the nature of their exploitation under a…

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Ruminating, problem solving, and coping in the midst of work abuse

work abuse is a commonplace of the #adjunct workplace

Minding the Workplace

In an article recently published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (abstract here), researchers Abbas Firoozabadi, Sjir Uitdewilligen, and Fred R. H. Zijlstra pose their key question in the title: “Should you switch off or stay engaged? The consequences of thinking about work on the trajectory of psychological well-being over time.”

Basically, they wanted to explore how taking our jobs home with us affects psychological well-being, especially when it comes to how we deal with work-related problems. Their focus was the distinction between ruminating (in this context, repeatedly thinking about the negative emotional aspects of a work experience) vs. problem-solving (analyzing potential responses and solutions). As some readers can already see, this study has significant implications for those experiencing forms of bullying, mobbing, and harassment at work.

Study details and findings

As explained in the article abstract, the study was conducted with “123 participants with full-time and…

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The Use of Competitive Hiring to Erode Tenure by Adjunctification

…another important @AdjunctCrisis post by John R Hoskins

The Adjunct Crisis

Following are comments made on an email thread debating proposed language changes affecting adjuncts in AFT 1931 that might be of interest to others. The comments have been slightly edited.

Here are my comments in support of the proposed changes to the contract language being discussed in this thread as well as an attempt (an inadequate one) to put the discussion in a larger context that might allow us to see our situation more clearly. I beg your indulgence.

The human condition is richly ironic. Our best intentions often go awry and we end up accomplishing the opposite of our original aims. This has happened with the competitive hiring process in search of the “best” at community colleges.

The hiring process was instituted to ensure that the hiring of faculty was just, that it offered equal opportunity to all candidates. The result has been mixed at best. Nationally, the lion’s…

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The People Made the First New Deal. Can the People Make Another?

With Midterm elections coming and talk about system change in the air, this is a timely topic and post.

Overdue catching up with Be Freedom, I’m starting with the most recent post but also recommend following the blog by email or rss feed reader.

Be Freedom

WV-TeachersStrike-ap-imgMassive Protest and Organizing Created the New Deal

The kind of electoral victories we need will take far more than standard electioneering and Facebook debates.  Let’s look at what it took to create the New Deal so we can see just how challenging the task ahead is. During the Great Depression massive organizing efforts and protest movements were necessary just to reform the two-party system. New Deal history strongly suggests that the current dementer v. demexit debate is largely a waste of time until we organize movements powerful enough to upset the existing order.

In our memory Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the standard bearer of the New Deal but it did not start that way.  FDR was a reluctant reformer pushed into progressive action because millions of people were willing to experiment with radical solutions.

Mass movements, third parties and revolutionary parties, labor upheaval, agrarian unrest, powerful populists, discontented veterans, and Democratic congressmen

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Contingent faculty as a bivalent collective.

ICYM Deirdre Rose’s earlier version, “The Neoliberal U and Me,” on the Canadian Anthropology Society newsletter, Culture

In addition to following this blog (highly recommended) you can also follow her on Twitter @deidrerose22

Stop Trying to Fix Students and Start Trying to Fix the University

Fruits of the pedagogic life

Dr Nicola Rivers and Dr Dave Webster

What do Universities do for students to help them secure a thriving future? They offer them mindfulness; sign them up to resilience programmes; advocate that they cultivate grit, and encourage them to promote themselves as personal brands, ready to do battle in the brutal arena of the precarious, broken gig economy. This seems benign, to be readying students for a harsh, world where individuals will need every advantage in competing with each other. But isn’t this hugely pessimistic and to undersell the goal of Higher Education?

It isn’t aspirational or transformative to try and make University like ‘the real world’, or an imagined reality TV version of it. What might be truly worthy of the term ‘education’, rather than ‘training’, would be to cultivate a space that transmits its values in its practices: an institution that walked the walk, rather than…

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Coping with an abusive boss: That voodoo that you do

many adjunct faculty, staff and student workers would probably spring for a bargain basement #badmin version (because that’s all most can afford) … or make our own

Minding the Workplace

If you’re angry about being treated like dirt by a terrible boss, then you may want to take it out on a voodoo doll. At least that’s what a study published earlier this year in The Leadership Quarterly suggests might be helpful.

In “Righting a wrong: Retaliation on a voodoo doll symbolizing an abusive supervisor restores justice” (abstract here), a team of researchers led by Dr. Lindie Liang (Wilfrid Laurier U, Canada) sought to measure whether “symbolic retaliation” might help to reduce feelings of being unjustly mistreated by an abusive supervisor.

They started with the common sense understanding that directly retaliating against a boss for perceived injustices at work might not be the best idea for many reasons. Next, they hypothesized that engaging in “symbolic retaliation,” such as taking out frustrations on a voodoo doll representing an abusive boss, might nevertheless help to reduce those feelings of injustice.

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Who can participate in “freedom of association”? Labor Notes 2018, Chicago

on the 2018 Labor Notes conference — and much more


Much too soon after we got back from Nepal, we went to Chicago for the Labor Notes conference.

Snow Chicago

Chicago (Oak Park), April 2018. A little red, a little blue. This is from the front steps of our friends Diane and Phil’s house.

One of my goals in this blog is to record instances of how people in the US gather at the grassroots level of political action. In other words, how we practice freedom of association. That’s different from “freedom of assembly,” which we in the US have in the First Amendment. Freedom of assembly refers to gathering for “peaceable” purposes for things ranging from a performance or celebration to a demonstration. If the gathering is large enough, it may require a permit.

Individuals and societies can lose freedom of assembly; I remember that during the apartheid period in South Africa, political activists could be banned from meeting with other people…

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Utopia and macroeconomics

…explaining the assumptions and the consequences of mainstream macroeconomics for the precarious impacted by them.

Read more of @dfruccio’s #utopoia series here</a

occasional links & commentary


From the beginning, mainstream macroeconomics has been a battleground between the visible and the invisible hand.

Keynesian macroeconomics, represented on the left-hand side of the chart above, has an aggregate supply curve with a long horizontal section at levels of output (Y or real GDP) below full employment (Yfe). What this means is that the aggregate demand determines the actual level of output, which can be and often is at less than full employment (e.g., when AD falls from AD1 to AD2, output to Y1, and prices to P2), with no necessary tendency to return to full employment and price stability. Therefore, according to Keynesian economists, the visible hand of government needs to step in and, through a combination of fiscal and monetary policy, move the economy toward full employment (at Yfe) and stable prices (at P1).

Neoclassical macroeconomists, like their classical predecessors, have a very different view of the…

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