nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2023‒03‒13
one paper chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. A social-psychological examination of academic precarity as an organizational practice and subjective experience By Albayrak-Aydemir, Nihan; Gleibs, Ilka Helene

  1. By: Albayrak-Aydemir, Nihan; Gleibs, Ilka Helene
    Abstract: Research and teaching conditions have, particularly for those who are junior or from disadvantaged backgrounds, deteriorated considerably over the years in the higher education sector. Unequal opportunities in access and advancement in careers have led to increasing levels of precarity in the higher education sector. Although the concept of precarity has been grasped in many other disciplines, the social-psychological understanding of this concept remains unexplored. In this paper, we aim to develop a social-psychological understanding of precarity to examine how identity dynamics and intergroup relations, as well as associated organizational controls, reinforce inequality regimes and power structures that create precarious conditions in academia. In doing so, we use social identity theory and system justification theory under an inequality regime framework. We argue that even though change towards equality and equity in academia should be possible, it is difficult to achieve this because of entrenched identity interests by power holders and the perceived legitimacy of the existing system. Therefore, academic precarity should be recognized both as a subjective experience and as an organizational practice to make inequalities more visible and decrease the perceptions of legitimacy—and to eventually achieve a fundamental positive transformation in academia.
    Keywords: academia; inequality; precarity; research; social identity; system justification
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2023–01–01

This nep-sog issue is ©2023 by Jonas Holmström. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.