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Precarious pedagogies? The impact of casual and zero-hour contracts in Higher Education

Lopes, Ana; Dewan, Indra


Ana Lopes

Indra Dewan


Precarious work is associated with and characterizes the effects of neoliberal policy—the transference of economic risk onto workers, the erosion of workers’ rights, the flexibilization and casualization of work contracts, self-responsibility, financial insecurity, and emotional stress. In the Higher Education (HE) sector, the number of insecure academic jobs, especially zero-hour contracts for hourly paid teaching and short-term contract research, has grown exponentially in recent years in response to the structural and fiscal changes within universities, which reflect these global shifts. This paper presents findings from a pilot study conducted with academics on casual contracts in HE institutions in England and Wales. Qualitative interviews and focus groups were undertaken with teachers (lecturers and tutors) on hourly paid and zero-hour contracts to examine the relationship between their contractual situations and pedagogical practices.

The research broadly seeks to contribute to ongoing discussions concerned with the impact of neoliberalism on higher education and specifically highlights the case of contingent lecturers as casualties of the casualization of the academic labor force.


Lopes, A., & Dewan, I. (2014). Precarious pedagogies? The impact of casual and zero-hour contracts in Higher Education. Journal of Feminist Scholarship, 7(8), 28-42

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal Journal of Feminist Scholarship
Print ISSN 2158-6179
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 8
Pages 28-42
Keywords higher education, casualization, precarity, hourly paid academics
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