For the love of it

I think I’ll be back writing here very soon, especially with this surprise Easter thing. (It was a surprise to me, anyway.) In the meantime, I just wanted to post this interview with Michelle Masse.

I’ve been meaning to write something about what’s been happening here on campus with a unionisation drive among casual academic staff. We had some minor victories last semester and hope for some big ones this year. It’s pretty exciting, I think. Now is not the time I’m going to do it. But I was struck this week – I filled in teaching for a sick co-worker this week. No worries, I could use the extra money. But the thing is, it comes straight out of her pay packet. We get no sick pay! Essentially, if we’re sick, we subcontract a co-worker. A few weeks ago I heard of a department at Sydney University in which people are teaching classes on a volunteer basis! That is, they don’t get paid; they’re doing it for the experience. Jesus Christ.

Anyway, watch Masse, courtesy Marc Bousquet of the excellent How the University Works. She makes a point Nate has often made, about the effect of academics seeing their work as a calling rather than a job.

Published in: on 20 March, 2008 at 1:46 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. hey Mike,
    Thanks for this. I’ll watch the video in the AM when it won’t wake my wife. I should have copyrighted that point, eh? 😉 I’d love to hear more about your unionization drive.
    take care,

  2. Bottom line: I’m happy to work for free, as long as my academic work is directed at criticising capitalism. Did Marx complain about working for free? If I have to teach bourgeois ideology, then OK, I expect to be paid. Conversely, if I expect to be paid, I would be suspicious of the function my teaching is performing. If I get paid to teach, I want to be reasonably assured that I’m getting away with something, not fulfilling the institutional function of the university qua ISA.

  3. Yeah I know what you mean. Got to live somehow though right? Marx had Engels’ factory and casual employment with the New York Tribune. He did complain a lot about the latter though.

  4. Also I think the point once made at iBreed that blogging is to some extent a ‘sublimation’ of political energy applies to academic work too.

  5. Thesis 11 on Feuerbach . . .

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