How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation

Front Cover
NYU Press, Jan 1, 2008 - Education - 281 pages
0 Reviews

As much as we think we know about the modern university, very little has been said about what it's like to work there. Instead of the high-wage, high-profit world of knowledge work, most campus employees—including the vast majority of faculty—really work in the low-wage, low-profit sphere of the service economy. Tenure-track positions are at an all-time low, with adjuncts and graduate students teaching the majority of courses. This super-exploited corps of disposable workers commonly earn fewer than $16,000 annually, without benefits, teaching as many as eight classes per year. Even undergraduates are being exploited as a low-cost, disposable workforce.

Marc Bousquet, a major figure in the academic labor movement, exposes the seamy underbelly of higher education—a world where faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates work long hours for fast-food wages. Assessing the costs of higher education’s corporatization on faculty and students at every level, How the University Works is urgent reading for anyone interested in the fate of the university.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Your Problem Is My Problem
The Informal Economy of the Information University
The Faculty Organize But Management Enjoys Solidarity
Students Are Already Workers
Composition as Management Science
The Rhetoric of Job Market and the Reality of the Academic Labor System
Yeshiva University 444 US 672 Justice Brennan Dissenting
Brown University 1RC21368Liebman and Walsh Dissenting
Works Cited
About the Authors

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 29 - It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining...
Page 29 - ... the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, selforganization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of thek employment or other mutual aid or protection.

References to this book

About the author (2008)

Marc Bousquet is Associate Professor of English at Santa Clara University and the founding editor of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor. His previous books include Tenured Bosses and Disposable Teachers and The Politics of Information: The Electronic Mediation of Social Change.

Cary Nelson is Jublilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also the national president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Among his twenty-five books are Manifesto of a Tenured Radical (also published by NYU) and the landmark coedited collection Cultural Studies.

Bibliographic information