The generation of public intellectuals: Corporate universities, graduate employees and the academic labor movement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Observers from a variety of quarters have remarked in recent years that contemporary civic life lacks the great public minds that helped to shape the public discourse of earlier generations. The most pressing crisis facing intellectual life in the United States in the age of the corporate university, however, is not a lack of great public thinkers but rather a quickly eroding public sphere, of which university teachers and researchers are key members. Examining struggles over and emerging from the conditions of contemporary academic work, this article recasts the public intellectual debate. It argues that the academic labor movement, in responding to the conditions of the corporate university and broader challenges to the public sphere, contains powerful models of public intellectual practice. In particular, the article highlights graduate employee unionism as critical public intellectual work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-46
Number of pages15
JournalLabor Studies Journal
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

Keywords

  • Academic unions
  • Casualization
  • Corporate universities
  • Graduate employees
  • Neoliberalism
  • Public intellectuals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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