Invisible Adjunct comments on two models of adjunct teaching: the adjunct as activist, and the adjunct as entrepreneur.
This is a really interesting sign of how permanent a feature of academic life temporary labor now is. When people try to come up with more positive metaphors for being flexible, temporary labor, you know something is going on. My own feeling is that while it’s better to see yourself in positive rather than negative terms (i.e., an entrepreneur rather than not-a-tenure-track-professor), the basic fact is that you can’t be an entrepreneur in an economy that doesn’t recognize or reward such behavior. There are benefits to being active rather than passive, and thinking tactically about how to get more money and reach your goals; but that’s different from real entrepreneurship.
Unfortunately, it now seems that for once academia is on the cutting edge of organizational practice. A good friend of mine argues that white collar workers in America are now going through what blue collar workers went through in the 1970s and 1980s: the security of their world is being undermined by global competition.