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The Critical PulseThirty-Six Credos by Contemporary Critics$
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Jeffrey Williams and Heather Steffen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161152

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161152.001.0001

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We Work

We Work

Chapter:
(p.59) 7 We Work
Source:
The Critical Pulse
Author(s):

Marc Bousquet

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231161152.003.0008

This chapter underscores the conditions of the work lives of professors and the importance of reconceiving the academe as a place of labor and thus of organizing. It argues that higher education has played a crucial, innovative role in the new order of the global workplace, trading on the willingness of many to discount their labor time in exchange for a little dignity and partial autonomy. It is not just faculty work that is being spoiled; most people's work is being ruined in similar ways. While there are indeed ways that the faculty's love for what they do is paradigmatic, most people have similarly tried to find corners and pieces of dignity and autonomy in their working lives. Like the faculty, most other workers strive to protect their integrity and avoid the taint of administration. So what has happened to the faculty—because they love what they do, sometimes to the point of denying that their wages matter at all—is important not because the faculty are special but because they are typical.

Keywords:   academe, labor, organizing, professors, higher education, faculty, working lives, autonomy

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