[URBANTH-L]temp jobs vs. "the anthropologist as hero"

Dani Kranz moewe at gmx.li
Mon May 7 19:37:21 EDT 2007

Having worked in market research and consultancy for so long, as much as Susan I have contacts which I am keen to maintain for the simple reason to have a second leg, and as I think now a more stable one than my academic one. Unfortunately that is from my idealistic point of view, but as my boyfriend likes to stress "You can make so much cash as a consultant, why do you dislike it that much?!"
However, through the conversation on the temp market and economic issues I have been wondering if there is any change in the academic employment market to come as the discussants, and I would guess many more of the readers are so dissatisfied with the hiring (and firing) politics of academia. How is a change to the more 'humane' supposed to be brought about?


-------- Original-Nachricht --------
Datum: Sat, 5 May 2007 11:05:45 -0700
Von: susan mazur <susanmazur at hotmail.com>
An: Angela Jancius <jancius at ohio.edu>, urbanth-l at lists.ysu.edu
Betreff: RE: [URBANTH-L]temp jobs vs. "the anthropologist as hero"

> Fantastic conversation, everybody.
> I'd add, that there are personal reasons for getting a PhD, which may well
> outweigh economic ones. I personally put myself through school, with much
> of my BA being funded by my then-employers in Silicon Valley. Having gained
> skills, experience, and a social network in marketing (which I maintain to
> this day) I felt relatively safe in going to graduate school, even though
> my then-advisor told me to go to law school instead ("You'd make a fabulous
> litigator.") I wanted the PhD to prove to myself that I could finish what
> I started. I used to say, "It doesn't matter if I blow my head off the day
> after I get my doctorate - they'll have to announce the funeral of DR Susan
> Mazur." 
> I did get (some) funding, and I won prestigious fellowships, but I still
> ended up w 50G in student loans. Relatively cheap, BTW, I met someone who
> had already racked up 60Gs and wasn't even finished with his master's (and
> there was a great article recently about what a cash cow THOSE are). 
> What gets interesting is how much we then buy into the schtick of
> academia. I entered with nary a thought in my head of becoming a professor. I
> wanted to work in applied anthro, and go into government, NGOs, whatever (all
> touted as places anthros make careers). Yet somewhere along the line I
> started 'chasing the bunny' of tenure like a whipped greyhound. Feeling like a
> failure even though I calculated the odds of getting a job at every stage
> along the way and the news was grim.
> It was only last year, when what I had essentially been told was a sure
> bet fell through (much like Angela's story) at a place I didn't even want to
> be, that I started to really ask myself, "How did I get here?" (cue Talking
> Heads). 
> To finish, yes, I am adjuncting, no I don't mind it so much seeing as I am
> in SoCal and the pay is decent (anybody get that newletter from the Dept
> of Education recently?) and I get to teach upper division courses with about
> as much regularity as anyone else. My husband's job provides health
> insurance, and the state of CA provides a pension and other retirement bennies. I
> also started my own consulting firm (www.indiciaconsulting.com) and I
> figure I may as well continue to make my own path, seeing as five years on the
> job market has nothing to show for it but some very close calls at some
> very good schools. I quip, "Every year I find myself getting rejected by
> better and better schhols!"
> But as of this Fall? I am off the market. If they want me, they'll have to
> come and find me. 
> I can't play Charlie Brown to their Lucy any longer. 
> PS - I have attached an oped I submitted to LA Times on this issue. 
>   Susan Mazur-Stommen, Ph.D. www.susanmazur.com 951.687.8661 "It's gonna
> get nerd nasty." Amanda on Ugly Betty
> > From: jancius at ohio.edu> To: urbanth-l at lists.ysu.edu> Date: Fri, 4 May
> 2007 14:08:27 -0400> Subject: [URBANTH-L]temp jobs vs. "the anthropologist as
> hero"> > In the below message, Dani emphasizes a wonderful point - that
> the nomadic > "temp-job" market pulls people away from what drew them into
> anthropology > in the first place -- a desire to have a positive social
> impact. In the past > two years, I've been doing research and advocacy work with
> prisoners, and > funding it out of pocket (www.prisonersolidarity.org).
> When I lose this job > and leave the region, my advocacy work unfortunately
> also ends. What do > senior faculty who are activist-anthropologists think
> about the trend that > Dani describes below?>
> -------------------------------------------------> > From: Dani Kranz <moewe at gmx.li>> > I was really,
> really touched by your mail. And I was not surprised by > Dimitra's response.>
> > I am myself in the last steps of finishing up my PhD in St Andrews, and
> have > been self-financing throughout, as most of my friends who entered
> PhD > programs in the UK. On that matter, Susan is right that the matter of >
> finances needs to be appreciated much more. Being on the brink of
> bankruptcy > throughout is nerve wrecking, fear inducing and frustrating.> > I have
> been asking myself especially on the last few months why I'm pursuing >
> this degree - taking all of the risks to maybe never get into academia, or >
> on one or two year contracts, at the same time being forced to work outside
> > academia as market analyst to make ends meet (one could say as an
> applied > anthropologist, though I shy away from this).. But the risk is not what
> > actually bothers me - besides a lucky two of my friends, all of us work
> in > jobs we were either not trained for or just do in order to make ends
> meet > (that goes alike for my friends in Germany, Britain, Israel, the US
> and > various other countries). What bothers me much more is that I am not
> sure if > what I am doing will ever have any effect on any social policy as
> I'd hoped > for. As you, I have been working with a group of people I do
> care about a > lot and for very personal reasons, Jews in Germany. I gave a
> paper last week > which looks at what happens when a dual citizen (Germany
> and Israel) enters > Germany, where he is then just counted as a German,
> with all connotations > that carries. That as a descendant of German Jews who
> fled Germany his > family history and thus the passing on of any tradition
> or German language > is notably different from millions of 'other' Germans
> is not appreciated in > the legal framework, besides the reinstatement of
> the citizenship that is > part of the constitution. During my fieldwork, I
> managed to get him on a > German language course, and left all papers that
> could help people like him > with one my participants - if I was not to have
> an impact on social policy, > I wanted at least to give back, and help as
> much as I could. It is these > moments I realized that make me do what I'm
> doing, and pursue this degree. > It's the hope that maybe I will manage to
> change things and make this world, > idealistic as it might sound, a better
> place. Not going into grad school and > giving into the 'forces of the
> market' I know I would have regretted, it > would have made me feel dead.
> Margaret Mead I think it was once mentioned > that it takes a small group of
> determined individuals to make changes if > there are supposed to be any.> >
> Dani > > _______________________________________________> URBANTH-L mailing
> list> URBANTH-L at lists.ysu.edu>
> http://lists.ysu.edu/mailman/listinfo.cgi/urbanth-l

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