Social science contract researchers in higher education: perceptions of craft knowledge

Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn (2000) Social science contract researchers in higher education: perceptions of craft knowledge. Work, Employment & Society: A Journal of the British Sociological Association, 14 (1). pp. 159-171. ISSN 0950-0170

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Full text URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/09500170022118310

Abstract

The past two decades have witnessed a trend towards the use of fixed-term and part-time contracts in higher education in the UK, where over a third of routine academic work is now carried out by staff on fixed-term contracts (Ainley 1994). This increased casualisation of academic labour has been driven by the need for universities and colleges to reduce labour costs. The move towards a more ‘flexible’ and cheaper workforce is largely a response to governmental resource restrictions and the need to cope with increased student numbers. External research grants and contracts play an increasingly important role in the finances of many institutions, with a concomitant rise in the number of researchers employed on fixed-term contracts.

Despite increasing numbers of contract researchers, their importance for the research profile of universities and colleges and the publication of a concordat on their career management (CVCP 1996), relatively little research has been published on the occupational lives of this marginalised group. The current article addresses this lacuna, and explores the occupational culture of social science contract researchers, in particular focusing upon their use of tacit and 'craft' knowledge.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The past two decades have witnessed a trend towards the use of fixed-term and part-time contracts in higher education in the UK, where over a third of routine academic work is now carried out by staff on fixed-term contracts (Ainley 1994). This increased casualisation of academic labour has been driven by the need for universities and colleges to reduce labour costs. The move towards a more ‘flexible’ and cheaper workforce is largely a response to governmental resource restrictions and the need to cope with increased student numbers. External research grants and contracts play an increasingly important role in the finances of many institutions, with a concomitant rise in the number of researchers employed on fixed-term contracts. Despite increasing numbers of contract researchers, their importance for the research profile of universities and colleges and the publication of a concordat on their career management (CVCP 1996), relatively little research has been published on the occupational lives of this marginalised group. The current article addresses this lacuna, and explores the occupational culture of social science contract researchers, in particular focusing upon their use of tacit and 'craft' knowledge.
Keywords:Occupational culture, Sociology of occupations, Contract researchers, Higher Education, Academic cultures
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:6692
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson
Deposited On:24 Oct 2012 19:24
Last Modified:24 Oct 2012 19:24

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