From a profession to a struggle: the precarization of social scientists in foundation universities
Birced, Elif (2017) From a profession to a struggle: the precarization of social scientists in foundation universities. [Thesis]
This thesis aims to explore how social scientists in foundation universities experience precarization. The literature on academics in the advanced capitalist countries and in Turkey has approached the problem of rising labor insecurity of academics with a particular focus on the changing nature of capital-labor relations with the decline of the welfare state regime and the extension of the logic of market to different spheres including the academia. Without neglecting the reflections of the recent marketization wave on the universities all around the world, this study contributes to the existing literature by analyzing the role of the government’s capacity to make interventions to the university regarding its own political interests in discussions of labor insecurity experienced by the academics in Turkey. In order to have a better understanding of how both recent marketization wave and the government can serve as a source of precarization for academics, this thesis focuses on the experiences of 40 social scientists (22 professors and 18 graduate student assistants) who were working at five different foundation universities in Turkey. By drawing on Standing’s (2011) framework for different forms of labor insecurity as well as Buğra’s (1997) and Keyder’s ( 2015) analysis on the development of the relationship between state and business people in Turkey, it provides, first of all, an analysis of the multiple ways in which social scientists suffer from precarization in their universities. In addition to looking at the academics’ struggle to survive in an environment where economic and/or political concerns can dominate the academic ones, this study also discusses in detail the obstacles and opportunities for a struggle against precarization of labor.
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