A bullshit job or pseudowork[1] is meaningless or unnecessary wage labour which the worker is obliged to pretend to have a purpose.[2] Polling in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands indicates that around 40% of workers consider their job to fit this description.[3]

The concept was coined by anthropologist David Graeber in a 2013 essay in Strike Magazine, On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs, and elaborated upon in his 2018 book Bullshit Jobs.[3]

Graeber also formulated the concept of bullshitization, where previously meaningful work turns into a bullshit job through corporatization, marketization or managerialism.[4] This has been applied to academia, which Graeber and others contend has been bullshitized by the expansion of managerial roles and administrative work caused by neoliberal educational reforms,[5][6][7] contributing to the erosion of academic freedom.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Fogh Jensen, Anders; Nørmark, Dennis (2021). Pseudowork: How we ended up being busy doing nothing. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  2. ^ Graeber, David (2018). Bullshit Jobs. Simon & Schuster. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-5011-4331-1.
  3. ^ a b Heller, Nathan (2018-07-06). "The Bullshit-Job Boom". The New Yorker.
  4. ^ Graeber, David (2018-05-06). "Are You in a BS Job? In Academe, You're Hardly Alone". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  5. ^ Kezar, Adrianna; DePaola, Tom; Scott, Daniel T. (2019). The Gig Academy: Mapping Labor in the Neoliberal University. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-1-4214-3271-7 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Maiese, Michelle; Hanna, Robert (2019). The Mind-Body Politic. Springer. p. 146. ISBN 978-3-030-19546-5 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Delucchi, Michael; Dadzie, Richard B.; Dean, Erik; Pham, Xuan (2021-06-17). "What's that smell? Bullshit jobs in higher education". Review of Social Economy: 1–22. doi:10.1080/00346764.2021.1940255. ISSN 0034-6764. S2CID 237792077.
  8. ^ Reichman, Henry (2019). The Future of Academic Freedom. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4214-2859-8 – via Google Books.

Further reading