Accepted Paper:

"It's mobility for precarity": ethnographic considerations on South Asian scholars in Europe  

Author:

Vinicius Ferreira (Rio de Janeiro State University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on an ongoing PhD research on South Asian social scientists building an academic career in Europe, this paper explores the experience of continuous and indefinite mobility amongst South Asian social scientists who seeks to build not only a career, but also a life on the road.

Paper long abstract:

As "academic mobility" becomes one of the watchwords of contemporary scientific policies, universities and research institutions in the global North adopt new strategies to attract "talented" foreign scholars. In this context, in which historical intellectual circulations between Europe and its ancient colonies are strengthened and resiginified, a growing number of South Asian researchers are recruited as postdoctoral fellows at European institutions. At the same time, European institutions are reshaped by pervasive managerial practices based on the notions of "flexibility" and "accountability", which are translated into the proliferation of short-term contracts as the dominant model for the recruiting of their academic staff. Those "academic workers" are often postdoctoral fellows. Drawing on an ongoing PhD research on South Asian social scientists trying to build an academic career in Europe, with a special focus on the German context career, this paper explores the experience of continuous and indefinite mobility amongst South Asian social scientists who seeks to build not only a career, but also a life on the road. We ask how lives can be lived in a context of proliferation of short-term contracts engendering indefinite mobility. In sum, it argues that the growing precarization of academic jobs in conjugation with contemporary scientific policies of mobility has meant a particular kind of precarization of life to these scholars who are part of historical circulations between Europe and South Asia.

Panel Plenary C
Early Career Scholars Forum: im/mobility, uncertainty and hope - critical reflections on academic precarity