I'll never have my name posted on a university wall. You know, those white lettered names with office numbers that are found at every university. Part-time adjuncts don't get those here. I'll never be able to apply for an Associate Professor, or senior researcher, or endowed chair position posted in my field. It won't matter how much I research and publish. Only tenured faculty can apply for those. I'll never win an award for my scholarship (at least I've never heard of anybody getting one who wasn't tenured faculty). I'll never be able to apply for funding to attend conferences (only full-time faculty are allowed to submit applications for funding; I had to turn down an invitation to speak in the U.K. recently for this reason). I'll never be able to take a sabbatical to study a music education system abroad (I get paid per credit I teach. I don't teach, I lose my job). I'll never be able to follow and mentor an undergraduate throughout their 4-years of study, but rather see them for a semester and they're gone. I'll never be able to do a lot of things that are done by faculty. If my university is the same as others, then, by far, most people teaching classes at universities will never be able to do any those things that are part of being a professor. Those things that make the professoriate a profession. Each of those and more make the university a placeless place, a no-where, for most faculty.
So, what's the problem with placelessness? Why isn't an uprooted society sustainable? The Bedouin and other nomadic peoples have lived sustainably for countless generations, so why not jut call moderns (cosmopolitans) "nomads," like some theorists have, and call it a day?
For one thing, traditional nomadic cultures are nothing like uprooted modern living. I'm getting my information about traditional Bedouin life at this link, and am using these to exemplify some differences between nomadic life and uprooted life. This only includes traditional Bedouin ways of living (culture) rather than moderns living in cities with Bedouin ancestors or relatives (who are often then uprooted, depending often on their career choices E.g., factory workers are, for obvious reasons, often less uprooted than university professors).
1.Traditional Bedouins live in tents with close ties among extended family members (specifically "in-law related domestic units"). Uprooted moderns often eschew their extended families.
2. Bedouins return to the same place every winter, throughout their lives. Uprooted moderns may return for a day or two during the holiday season, but only if their parents aren't also as uprooted as they are. Moderns move every few years, suffering from a well-known disease called the 7 year itch. (University faculty often leave for new jobs after 7 years)
3. Bedouins live closely with animals whose milk and meat sustain them. Uprooted moderns may have a dog, but they're not going to milk her, and she, more often than not, isn't a guard dog.
4. Very young and old Bedouins stay year-long in their "winter camp," providing a place for ritual, for being born and dying. Uprooted moderns do the same, but with hospitals, where the noises of medical machinery have long replaced the old songs of birth and death.
5. Bedouins have a distinctive tradition of well ownership, guiding who uses water sources and when. Water use is guided by ecological limits. Uprooted moderns usually have no idea where their water comes from, and use the same amount of water whether they live in wet Carolina or arid California. The only limits for uprooted moderns is how much they can buy through the magic of math done in banks (not even green pieces of paper or gold anymore).
Ultimately, then, nomadic life is not an uprooted life. Rather nomads life a place-infused being, rooted in social and geographical relationships among specific human and non-human beings, and within specific limits that are sustainable for generations in the future. It is misinformation to call uprooted moderns nomads. Nomads have more in common with less-nomadic "tribes" or indigenous peoples around the globe, who also live among extended family units, within the limits of specific geographical places, in close contact with animals who sustain them, and with rituals to mark one's life that have intergenerational meaning.
So, what's wrong, then with university faculty jobs being so uprooted? In our society, university is where new knowledge is made. The ancient Greeks may have gone to Delphi, and Medieval monarchs may have gone to the Pope, but today we go to peer-reviewed journals when we want to know the truth of matters. And those are less accessible than Delphi and the Pope. I remain a university adjunct, despite the low pay and uprootedness of the job, because I have access to that information. If I were to give up this job, I wouldn't have access to countless dissertations, journal articles, research studies, critique, and commentary. Its not just about my field of expertise, music education. When I have a question about politics, or ecology, or government, or the law, I go to the university library, where I can instantly access crucial information the general public cannot. But, there's no doubt that all of that information is constructed by uprooted moderns. Usually diversity means diversity among uprooted moderns, often using a recently uprooted modern to be a "culture bearer" (carrying his/her culture around like a weight) for the way of life he/she recently left. Uprootedness then, affects what we are able to know through our research, critique, and commentary. The uprooted university values some, and ignores or demeans others. One need only look at the history of American Indian research to know how much researchers don't get American Indian cultures. They still don't! Seriously. Listen to some episodes of Media Indigena about researchers today. We do not understand them at a fundamental level. It may be impossible for an uprooted modern to truly understand a rooted culture. If you hate your aunt, its hard to understand why a whole culture would be built around relationships with aunts. Most cultures don't want to sacrifice their children to be dissected and re-placed into suburbia, where they can be "culture bearers."
Finally, uprootedness breeds ecological disaster. Wendell Berry often talks about the nonsense of talking about climate change without mentioning the waste of material and people that is at the root of climate change. We uproot poor rural people to the cities, to work in factories where they commit suicide. We in the cities demand so much food that rural farmers in India are committing suicide too. We ship the product of labor to "rich" countries (like the U.S.), where we can pretend the evils of capitalism ended in the early 20th Century when we started shipping factories from Pennsylvania to Myanmar. The left-half of the normal curve in PA goes unemployed (wasted), and the overall economy is violently brutal. Everything we buy has violence in it. I write this on a computer that has somebody's blood in its making. Some child labor. Some ruined local, rural culture. And so, I use my computer I bought in 2011. The least I can do is not waste it just because better ones are made today. If I were to recycle it, it'd be shipped (carbon/oil) to some "poor" country in the Global South where it will pollute their soil. We waste carbon, and lithium, and soil, and forests, and animals, and people. This, I think, is a sin.
Check out my book or get it from the library. Or do both, and write a review on Amazon so my book shows up on searches.