This article investigates the working conditions and career aspirations of adjunct professors (Aps) in Italy. It is based on the results of a national survey carried out in 2018 collecting information on a representative sample of 5556 respondents distributed across all Italian universities, on semi-structured interviews with 35 APs, and on an auto-ethnographic study conducted in 2018 during trade union assemblies with precarious academic workers at ten Italian universities. APs are considered as a litmus test for observing how the academic structure and career paths have changed in recent decades in Italy. More specifically, we look at how teaching activities' loss of prestige as 'non-market' activities results in both a loss of academic opportunity for pursuing a future career and a worsening of the present teaching work conditions. In this regard, we combined Bourdieu's field theory and Schütz's social phenomenology, with the recent literature on new forms of unpaid work. Departing from this conceptual frame, in the analysis we explore how working as APs may be seen as an invisible form of unpaid work produced by the new logic of the Italian academic field, which also rules the ways in which economic and symbolic capitals are distributed, affecting the possibility of pursuing an academic career. This article is the result of collaborative research work. However, we declare that Barbara Grüning wrote the introduction, the second, third, and sixth sections, and the conclusions; Gianluca De Angelis wrote the third and fourth sections. We thank the FLC-CGIL trade union and the network of precarious academic workers of the University of Bologna for their organizational support in the early phases of our research and for the dissemination of the research outputs.

The Economic and Cultural Withdrawal of Academic Teaching in Italy: Adjunct Professors as a Case Study

De Angelis, Gianluca
2021-01-01

Abstract

This article investigates the working conditions and career aspirations of adjunct professors (Aps) in Italy. It is based on the results of a national survey carried out in 2018 collecting information on a representative sample of 5556 respondents distributed across all Italian universities, on semi-structured interviews with 35 APs, and on an auto-ethnographic study conducted in 2018 during trade union assemblies with precarious academic workers at ten Italian universities. APs are considered as a litmus test for observing how the academic structure and career paths have changed in recent decades in Italy. More specifically, we look at how teaching activities' loss of prestige as 'non-market' activities results in both a loss of academic opportunity for pursuing a future career and a worsening of the present teaching work conditions. In this regard, we combined Bourdieu's field theory and Schütz's social phenomenology, with the recent literature on new forms of unpaid work. Departing from this conceptual frame, in the analysis we explore how working as APs may be seen as an invisible form of unpaid work produced by the new logic of the Italian academic field, which also rules the ways in which economic and symbolic capitals are distributed, affecting the possibility of pursuing an academic career. This article is the result of collaborative research work. However, we declare that Barbara Grüning wrote the introduction, the second, third, and sixth sections, and the conclusions; Gianluca De Angelis wrote the third and fourth sections. We thank the FLC-CGIL trade union and the network of precarious academic workers of the University of Bologna for their organizational support in the early phases of our research and for the dissemination of the research outputs.
2021
Adjunct professors; Italy; Unpaid work; University policies; Academic teaching; Academic habitus;
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1171794
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