Research Profile: Dr. Greig de Peuter

Wilfrid Laurier University professor Greig de Peuter recently received a Standard Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which will allow him to conduct research in his field of communication studies for the next three years.

For his current research, de Peuteur said it’s about “working conditions and labour politics in media cultural and information technology industries.”

He also emphasized that the project is “still at its early stages . . . [and] being carried out in collaboration with a professor at Simon Fraser University in the school of communication by the name of Enda Brophy.”

According to de Peuter, these sectors of work have been growing and becoming more popular. “There is a glamour associated with certain jobs within the cultural industry,” he added.

However, these jobs are not your standard workday and are not supported by benefits, yet this ‘flex-work’ is a growing industry, especially within universities regarding CAS professors.

His research surrounding these work sectors is based on the term ‘precarity.’ “[This term is]used to describe the social, financial and existential insecurities that are exacerbated by working in a flexible manner,” said de Peuter.

“Research starts off with the assumption that flex workers shouldn’t be conceived only as victims of this [precarious] business logic, but they should be viewed as active agents who are capable of resistance . . . and transformation,” continued de Peuter.

De Peuter’s research aims at documenting various ways that flex-workers are starting to combat their working conditions.

Motivation for this project stemmed from his past experiences as a part-time worker within university settings. He stated that his current tenured position is his first “solid” job, and that past jobs were “textbook precarious.”

This project is also a continuation of his doctoral work, but focuses more on empirical aspects instead of the theory behind precarious work.

It is also a continuation of a pilot project that de Peuter took part in while at New York University during his research term in the department of social and cultural analysis.

De Peuter is collecting research for this project by interviewing labour activists, particularly participants in anti-precarity labour movements.

When the research is finished he hopes to have produced academic journal articles as well as contributions to labour publications and social justice publications.

He noted that his research will not be exclusive to just academic publications.

De Peuter also hopes to produce a book by the end of the three-year research term.

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