[URBANTH-L]The Temp-Scholar Market and the Future of Anthropology

A. Scott Catey catey at ufl.edu
Tue May 8 08:46:50 EDT 2007

[the following was a reply to the original posting angela set 


kudos on a thoughtful and passionate articulation of a problem 
that besets our discipline and the academy generally. you have my 
compassion for the loss of job and benefits, as well. i'd like to 
take a moment to comment on your observations.

the commitment to the ideology of hierarchy is wide spread, as you 
know. i was speaking with two of my graduate school (soon to be 
phds) colleagues just yesterday and both of them are willing to 
conform to the politics of ideology of hierarchy in the interest 
of self-interest, and in the interest (explicitly) of reproducing 
the developing status quo. when i suggested alternate relational 
practices that we as students and early career professionals can 
enact, or try to enact, in order to subvert hierarchical norms and 
to bring others into the discipline for much needed infusion of 
fresh ideas and energy, they scoffed. it seems, perhaps, that the 
drive to succeed and attain the academy position is more important 
than the effort to change what is and to struggle to transform the 
organization and practices of our field for the better. i am 
continually disappointed by the lack of interest among my peers to 
put theory to work in our own backyard, as it were, and their 
preference to capitulate to the demands of management and 
competitive work models that are forced upon us through regimes of 
'governance' and reliance upon contractual obligations and 
corporate organizational priorities.

we here at the university of florida are experiencing a similar 
budget "crisis" (manufactured, it seems) and the concomitant and 
continuing proletarianization of knowledge workers in favor of 
higher teaching loads, higher numbers of seats occupied, 'dumbing 
down' of courses, and the elimination, or attempted elimination, 
of assistantship positions and student employment. i speak only 
for myself, as a doctoral student at UF, but the neoliberalizing 
governance model is firmly entrenched here, and it sounds as if 
your experience is compatible with some faculty here, both in 
anthropology and in other disciplines.

i hope that your call to begin a conversation takes hold. i for 
one am very interested to hear what others have to say, and to 
begin to think collectively about how we can mobilize our 
knowledge and our social relationships in order to transform the 
current trend, and maybe attain a model of teaching that is 
actually concerned with teaching, mentoring, and providing for 
students somnething more than a client-driven model of 'service'; 
and instead equip them with the intellectual and cognitive skills 
that education, normatively, ought to aspire to provide.

Scott Catey
Graduate Student
Department of Anthropology
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

... sed fieri sentio et excrucior


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