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Working as Hijōkin Kōshi : Contextualizing a Precarious Form of Employment in Japan

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type:紀要論文 Departmental Bulletin Paper


社会学 : 論文

Part-time teachers (hijōkin kōshi) are the embodiment of precarious employment at Japanese universities. These part-time lecturers are hired per course and have risen in numbers over the past ten years, but nonetheless have not received much attention from the academic community. The discourse in the few sources written by unions mainly focuses on their working conditions and the consequences on the quality of education that their increase in numbers might bring. However, these works have not adequately addressed why academics are willing to take positions as hijōkin kōshi. Furthermore, the concrete impact of this kind of employment on the life and career of those people and the implications for Japan’s system of higher education remain unexplored. This paper sheds light on the work and life of hijōkin kōshi with special attention to their motivation and the impact this form of employment has on their lives as academics. I argue that this kind of employment distracts them from their actual goal of career advancement by disrupting their research efforts while sustaining their hopes for a full-time career in academia and therefore progressively binding them to this kind of work with all its economic vulnerabilities and consequences. Higher education in Japan will therefore become even more education focused. In conclusion, this type of employment cannot be understood by merely looking at working conditions. A closer look at the individuals’ lives as academics and their motivation is required.



  • 年報人間科学

    年報人間科学 38 101-120, 2017-03-31

    大阪大学大学院人間科学研究科 社会学・人間学・人類学研究室


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