This chapter argues that precariousness in higher education disrupts higher education teachers’ identity formation and pedagogies, leading to misrecognition and inequality. Precariousness is often a term connected to the newness of early career academics. As Gill (2010, p. 232) notes, ‘precariousness is one of the defi ning experiences of contemporary academic life – particularly, but not exclusively, for younger or ‘career early’ staff (a designation that can now extend for one’s entire ‘career’, given the few opportunities for development or secure employment)’. She goes on to note that this precariousness for PhD students, new postdocs and teaching fellows, among other positions, is related to issues such as short-term contracts, tasks of delivering mass undergraduate programmes ‘with little training, inadequate support, and rates of pay that – when preparation and marking are taken into account – frequently fall (de facto) below the minimum wage’ (Gill, 2010). Gill also notes that lack of benefi ts and summer pay are also issues of precariousness. Non/visibility of ECTs within their working environment (departments, faculties, universities) contributes to the development of this trajectory. Drawing on Burke (2012), we argue that the way academics experience their ‘early-careerness’ contributes to their ‘mis/recognition as il/legitimate subjects in higher education’. We build on this work to explore ECTs’ experiences, considering how mis/recognition (as theorised in Chapter two ) illuminates:
A way of talking about forms of respect and disrespect that drop out of the standard models of distributive justice which focus on who gets what. . . . Recognition has to do with respect, esteem, prestige: the way society values different traits, different activities. It has to do with what I would call “patterns” of cultural value.