Currently writing my application for yet another extension. I feel so tired of these administrative tasks, not in an arrogant sort of way of ‘why should I have to fill them out’, but because of the absolute stress that the administrative tasks themselves produce. This stress is separate to the stress and anxiety of the actual scholarly work, or is at least another dimension of it.
Over the last few days I have received the dissertation chapter feedback I have wanted for about the last two years from my supervisors (paraphrasing): “Yes, this is good work. Only needs minor revisions.” I am on track after finally finding a balance between the massive amount of empircal work and the theatrics of the conceptual drama. Now I tend to think of my empirical work as providing the basis for developing my own tools (ie Enthusiasm), extracted from certain examples, and then used to analyse another situation (ie cultural industry).
Yet, I am currently stressed out of my brain about getting another extension. The administrative tasks are the clearest example yet that the university is there to reproduce itself in certain ways. The cycle of administrative tasks allow the university to function in a certain way, a functioning which is not related to the actual practices of learning, teaching, or researching.
Isolating the intellectual or scholarly work dimensions of a PhD or any reseach project from the administrative dimensions is clearly a false move; they are inseparable. The administrative dimension is basically a form of governance however, so why not shift to the neo-liberal paradigm of governance, and govern by way of enabling certain behaviour (high quality research), instead of crippling it?
I am also working on another version of my abstract to be sent to potential examiners.
NTEU is having conferences in each State and Territory over the next couple of months for casual academics. Sign up for the conference here. They also have an online survey which I have just filled out and here is the response to one of the questions:
It is almost as if the university thinks that casual academic staff are being done a favour by being ‘given’ employment. This is complete and utter bullshit. The university very well knows that the excess labour of casual staff and the insecurity of their workplace conditions can be used to control the staff and maintain invisible workplace relations. Ideas are not separate from their material conditions of circulation be they books or in the bodies of academics. The insecurity of casual academics directly impacts on the security of knowledge.
The bourgeois middle-class credentials of academics is put on display not through cultural performances of class, but through the dire material conditions of their younger ‘colleagues’. No one is going to die (except mental health issues and suicides) and I eat and pay my rent, but I survive because I am fueled purely by the burning contempt I have for those who clearly do know better.
Indeed, the only good thing about this state of affairs is that such workplace conditions are having the effect of producing a generation of extremely angry young academics who have the determination to survive. Every single one of my academic friends is concerned about this, even those who are ‘lucky’ enough to be on ‘full time’ three year post-doc contracts. How stupid are universities and managerial staff if they don’t think an entire generation of militant academics is going to come back and bite them where it hurts?
I have three months.
Reading notes for John Urry Masterclass at UWS starting tomorrow. On what is probably my favourite paper of his “The Complexities of the Global” (over the fold).