Societies of control the place of higher education
Academic activism - one possible reaction to a March 26th 2012 society of control
Main questions• What is the place of university academics, and how might we play a more pro-active role in debating the future of education in England?• Whilst we are exposed to our own performative pressures, how might we develop approaches to research which lead to both practical and consistent engagement with practitioners, whilst also developing rigorous research for the academy?• Is such an approach, what I call academic activism, a desirable aim for research work in universities?• Are we entering into a very different academic, and how might we successfully engage in such debates?
Some features of Societies of Control• Move to a society of flows, particularly of data• dividuation as humans lose their humanity and become identified through data streams• Corporatisation and loss of social cohesion• Proletarianisation of teachers in education• Reaction through nomadism• Loss of centrality/importance of the academy
Alternative Futures - Finlandas an example• less standardised testing,• a focus on improving teachers and teaching,• emphasis on responsibility and trust ahead of accountability,• area leadership handed over to professionals rather than politicians,• NO inspection system• The Finnish experience shows that consistent focus on equity and cooperation - not choice and competition - can lead to an education system where all children learn well.’ Pasi Sahlberg
Academics and Educational Debate• What is our place in wider educational debate?• Issues of sharing research - time lags• Where do we publish? Standing within the academy Utility beyond the academy
Higher Education andPerformativity• The sector has become increasingly performance driven• REF• What is academic rigour?• Course development• Course policing• Is this really what we want academia to be?• How do we become nomads?
Academic Activism• Extended and democratic dialogue with practitioners and the wider public• Greater focus on public writing including through new media• Research which has multiple outputs over an extended period and attempts to work alongside schools and practitioners• Conscious attempt to dissolve (at least in part) the practitioner/academic boundary
Academic nomadism• The Academy in many ways has become part of the State machinery• Threat to academic freedoms• Loss of public debate• Need to find new media for engagement• Need to build new networks with those with alternative views The Occupy Free University