Where to start? Inventorying and organizing existing resources. Defining, identifying and describing. I could use a few more hands. This updated Durga represents the ultimate precarious worker. She is not just multitasking but doing it while riding a ...

What is #precarity and who are the precarious? and more

What is #precarity and who are the precarious?

Where to start? Inventorying and organizing existing resources. Defining, identifying and describing. I could use a few more hands.

adapted version of Hindu warrior goddess Durga as multi-tasking precarious worker

This updated Durga represents the ultimate precarious worker. She is not just multitasking but doing it while riding a tiger and shooting arrows at a malevolent demon -- just another day at the Precarity Office.

Instead of narrowing my focus, I have expanded it from precarious faculty to precarious workers across a range of categories from temp work and migrant labor to  academic labor and creative culture work. In between extremes lie contract labor, low wage work, work in the service economy, unpaid interns, tech and other knowledge workers.  All are insecure, without benefits and usually lower paid than equally (and sometimes less) qualified full time workers for the same employers or working in the same field. Precarious workers, whatever their area or presumed status, are insecure, fungible, disposable, voiceless -- and often invisible or might as well be.

Why? Because categories overlap, working conditions and causes are not unrelated.


speaking of names and other changes

Yesterday I renamed both this blog and  its companion Facebook page Precarious life and times. Not to worry though -- visitor won't end up in strange places like some did with the domain shift. This change does not affect either url. The Facebook iteration has already been moving away from primarily adjunct issues toward a broader focus on the workplace, economic and social changes accompanying the spread of precarity. Until very recently, this one hasn't been moving at all.

Seiltänzer (Tightrope Walker) Paul Klee (cropped)
What will change? Content. Adjuncts, casuals and other insecure academic labor will still have a prominent place. There more widgets, posts and collections on related topics, and a "What we can do" category coping and resisting.

What is precarity and who's precarious? The category includes more than academic precariat. Is insecure employment the primary or even sole marker of precarious populations? Is it the only benchmark? The connection with the economy and economic inequality is obvious. Disposable and marginalized groups are particularly vulnerable. Their initial precariousness, whatever the cause -- disability, age, race, gender, social and legal status, etc., inevitably pushes them further down in the workforce and decreases mobility options, often drastically.

Could all precarious people together already be the majority? That would bring us full naming circle to the ❝new precarious majority❞...


Teach-in on #Adjunct Faculty, 4/20/2012 @GreenRiverCC

…moderated by #KeithHoeller and Kathryn Re…featuring Frank Cosco and Jack Longmate.

The teach-in addresses multiple inequities built into the two faculty system and possible solutions. 


Additional Related Resources

left to right: Frank Cosco, Keith Hoeller, Jack Longmate


It's Movie Time! Grace Lee Boggs, An American Revolutionary

… is back, free to watch on PBS through January, a special P.O.V 30th Anniversary treat.

Grace Lee Boggs, 98, is a Chinese American philosopher, writer, and activist in Detroit with a thick FBI file and a surprising vision of what an American revolution can be. Rooted for 75 years in the labor, civil rights and Black Power movements, she challenges a new generation to throw off old assumptions, think creatively and redefine revolution for our times. Winner, Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature, 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).


from the blog archives: #adjunct Links & Commentary from #KeithHoeller

…originally published Sunday, April 20, 2014. This trial post for a series that never materialized has been among the blog's most popular posts, 2,300 visits and climbing. The post was so labor intensive and time consuming to edit that I never got around to another. Shorter posts would have been a better choice too.  Rather than the promised shorter posts, I have not been posting at all. How much shorter can a post get? Although not always clearly indicated, commentary accompanying links is, unless otherwise noted, either Keith's commentary originally posted to the adj-l list and republished here with Keith's permission or quoting him directly from the original article. Should the series resume, I'll make that clearer when I revise the format.

…Issue #1 blogging materials and words from and on behalf of legendary (but social media averse) adjunct activist, Keith Hoeller. This project is still in Beta, so expect changes. I edited the auto-blogged Diigo bookmarks to tidy up format, added the vintage image of a 1907 classroom, and rearranged the order to lead with the NY Times OpEd, related links and commentary, including a copy of Keith's unpublished letter to the editor, plus a link to the published response letters. 

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