Bullshit Jobs: A Critical Pedagogy Provocation

  • Joyce Canaan Professor of Sociology, Birmingham City University


I precede the ‘provocation’ —a word I first heard used by my colleagues Gordon Asher and Leigh French—below with the following caveats. First, I produced this provocation as part of a workshop on Critical Pedagogy that Gordon Asher, Leigh French and I co-organised preceding a day conference on Critical Pedagogies. Second, the provocation that follows, like those of Asher and French, sought to spark off debate; it used David Graeber’s rhetorical argument about paid work today, with its explicit use of the ‘b’ word, to encourage academics at the event to re-contextualise regimes of accountability in the university that they are experiencing and to consider how critical pedagogy could help them do so. Finally, I have been lucky enough to leave full time employment when voluntary redundancy was on offer (being already off work on stress-related sick leave, for the first and last time in my full-time, paid working life). This allowed me to stop being a wage slave and become, instead, as one of my colleagues put it, like Tony Benn who left Parliament to take up politics; I was leaving the university to take up education.

How to Cite
Canaan, J. (2015) “Bullshit Jobs: A Critical Pedagogy Provocation”, Concept, 6(1), p. 8. Available at: http://concept.lib.ed.ac.uk/article/view/2417 (Accessed: 25November2020).