The Proletarianization of the Academy

Michael W Powelson


This article argues that just as manufacturing underwent a  process of 'proletarianization' so too has the academic world also undergone a process of 'proletarianization.' 

In the academic industry wages have been cut, workers have been laid off, work loads have been increased, and class size have increased dramatically over the past three decades. 

Thus, the academic industry does not function outside the captalist economy but rather is subject to the same dynamics that drive down wages and increase unemployment in the manufacturing sector.  

A major difference, however, is that while craft workers were replaced in manufacturing by relatively un-skilled wage workers, in the academic industry workers are expected tomaintain high levels of training and skills even as their wages have declined and their work load has increased.


proletarianization; economics; academics

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ISSN 1715-0094  Workplace