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The Exploitation of Academic Work: Women in Teaching at Swedish Universities

Journal article
Authors Petra Angervall
Dennis Beach
Published in Higher Education Policy
Volume 31
Issue 1
Pages 1-17
ISSN 0952-8733
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Pages 1-17
Language en
Keywords academic work governance division of labour gender teaching
Subject categories Educational Sciences


This study concerns some of the implications of the increasing commodification of the higher education sector. It tries to highlight how higher education institutions have developed in the late 2000s through the reform path that was introduced to transform programmes and employees into marketable products. New forms of governance that change institutional contexts and concrete practices accompany this change. Based on interviews with a group of female academic lecturers and teachers, we look in particular at how the work structure is organized and practised at Swedish universities. The results illustrate a greater division of labour and a fragmentation of academic work that can be explained by recent developments. More specifically, it appears as if female academics in teaching-intensive departments do work that serves the interests of others (often men), foremost in areas and practices such as research.

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