Academic work and proletarianisation: a study of higher education-based teacher educators

Viv Ellis, Jane McNicholl, Allan Blake, Jim McNally

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This article reports on a one year, mixed methods study of 13 teacher educators at work in English and Scottish higher education institutions. Framed by cultural-historical activity theory, itself a development of a Marxian analysis of political economy, the research shows how, under conditions of academic capitalism, these teacher educators were denied opportunities to accumulate capital (e.g. research publications, grants) and were proletarianised. The reasons for this stratification were complex but two factors were significant: first, the importance of maintaining relationships with schools in the name of ‘partnership’ teacher education; and, second, the historical cultures of teacher education in HE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalTeaching and Teacher Education
Early online date17 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2014


  • teacher education
  • academic work
  • academic capitalism
  • proletarianisation


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