Survival Guide Advice and the Spirit of Academic Entrepreneurship; or, Why Graduate Students Will Never Just Take Your Word for It

Paul Cook


Graduate students have probably always been natural targets for advice, particularly when it comes to the academic labor market.  But recently, given the all-too familiar litany of problems facing graduate education, academic labor, and higher education in general, the pace and gravity of this advice have intensified.

This article explores how this advice constructs, constrains, narrows, and normalizes the way graduate students think of themselves as individuals constantly in need of introspective work on themselves in order remain, if not employed, then at least employable. What I call academic "advice-knowledge" espouses a form of self-governance and self-labor that actively work against collective action.  Indeed, advice-knowledge constrains individuals’ capacities to imagine potential avenues for collective resistance and transformation of the status quo.


advice-knowledge; survival-guide advice; neoliberalism

ISSN 1715-0094  Workplace