Stop the clocks: Enabling practitioners and precarity in pandemic time(s)

Article


Olds, Anita, Hopkins, Susan, Lisciandro, Joanne, Jones, Angela, Subramaniam, Juliette, Westacott, Marguerite, Larsen, Ana, Sturniolo-Baker, Rebekah and Scobie, Helen. 2023. "Stop the clocks: Enabling practitioners and precarity in pandemic time(s)." Access: Critical Explorations of Equity in Higher Education. 11 (1), pp. 12-27.
Article Title

Stop the clocks: Enabling practitioners and precarity in pandemic time(s)

Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsOlds, Anita, Hopkins, Susan, Lisciandro, Joanne, Jones, Angela, Subramaniam, Juliette, Westacott, Marguerite, Larsen, Ana, Sturniolo-Baker, Rebekah and Scobie, Helen
Journal TitleAccess: Critical Explorations of Equity in Higher Education
Journal Citation11 (1), pp. 12-27
Number of Pages16
Year2023
PublisherUniversity of Newcastle
ISSN2653-245X
Web Address (URL)https://novaojs.newcastle.edu.au/ceehe/index.php/iswp/article/view/193
Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new tensions and pressures for universities. While students and staff already experienced time pressures in competitive neoliberalised economies, these strains accelerated during the pandemic. The aim of this autoethnography study was to capture the lived experience of eight practitioners working in teaching, leadership and professional practice within the field of enabling education, across six Australian institutions between 2020–2021. The problem of ‘time’ emerged as a dominant theme. Without adequate time to balance work and life, sustaining personal and collective wellbeing became precarious. This paper engages with ‘precarity’ (Butler 2004, 2012) as manifested in workplace anxiety, stress and insecurity experienced by enabling education practitioners. It endeavours to tether these lived experiences to the temporalities of the digital neoliberal university (Bennett & Burke, 2018), particularly through Adam’s (1995) concept of the inequitable time economy and its disciplining workplace ‘machine time’ which is always ‘running on and out’ (Adam 1995, p. 52) at the expense of marginalised workers. Despite such challenges, the researcher/participants emerged passionate about making a difference to the lives of their students, many of whom are from non-traditional and equity backgrounds. The autoethnographic process itself fostered a new sense of solidarity, resilience and agency.

Keywordsneoliberalism; precarity; enabling; emotional labour; burnout
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390407. Inclusive education
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Byline AffiliationsMurdoch University
University of Southern Queensland
Edith Cowan University
Western Sydney University
University of the Sunshine Coast
Central Queensland University
University of Newcastle
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