Publication Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



When professors get together outside the university they talk about that thing which dominates them, their work. This conversation may take the form of discussing a product of that work-a lecture in class, a research paper, committee deliberations-but most often it seems to be about conditions of work. One hears talk about course load, the trials of tenure and promotion, salaries and compensation, and of course the quality of the students on which some of academic labor is supposed to fall. In themselves, these conversations are not surprising. Mail carriers have very similar conversations, as do primary school teachers, subway drivers, and millions of other working people in the United States when they come together with those who share their position in the production process. But what is interesting among academic workers is the simultaneous disavowal of the very social conditions of work about which they speak. Mail carriers may not develop sufficient solidarity for effective political action for many reasons having to do both with their workplace and with life beyond their workplace, but they are unlikely to deny that the mail does not move unless they all work together. Nor are they likely to doubt that their product results from common effort.


Educational Administration and Supervision | Organizational Behavior and Theory

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources


Chalk lines: The politics of work in the managed university


Randy Martin

First Page


Last Page





Duke University Press

City or Country


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL