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Reclaiming the idea of the University


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My presentation at the DMU-hosted seminar [held on 8 December 2011] on THE ASSAULT ON UNIVERSITIES: Privatisation, Secrecy and the Future of Higher Education.

My presentation at the DMU-hosted seminar [held on 8 December 2011] on THE ASSAULT ON UNIVERSITIES: Privatisation, Secrecy and the Future of Higher Education.

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  • 1.
    • Reclaiming the idea of the University
    THE ASSAULT ON UNIVERSITIES: Privatisation, Secrecy and the Future of Higher Education Dr Richard Hall [@hallymk1]
  • 2.
    • This is a systemic, historical crisis of capitalism.
    • It is accumulating historically-developed, social capitals [NHS, *free* education] through commodification and coercion.
    • Both its impact and its re-inscription of capitalist social relations on our institutional lives needs critique.
    • Academics might consider their roles in the process of refusal/negation.
  • 3.  
  • 4.
    • “ I am free”
  • 5.
    • ‘ we’re living in a moment when, for the first time, capitalism has become a truly universal system.... Capitalism is universal also in the sense that its logic – the logic of accumulation, commodification, profit-maximisation, competition – has penetrated almost every aspect of human life and nature itself’.
    • Meiksins-Wood, E. (1997). Back to Marx. Monthly Review, 49(2), 1.
  • 6.
    • “ this is about more than education”
  • 7.
    • Coercion: debt, fear and austerity
  • 8.  
  • 9. “ student debt, in its prevalence and amounts, constitutes a pedagogy, unlike the humanistic lesson that the university traditionally proclaims, of privatization and the market.” Jeffrey J. Williams, “Tactics against Debt”:
  • 10. New system transfers the cost of HE from the taxpayer to graduates themselves Dearden et al. (2010)
  • 11.  
  • 12.
    • Debt is a way of life. Michael Gove: "Anyone put off... university by fear of... debt doesn’t deserve to be at university in the first place“.
    • Next Left:
  • 13.  
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  • 15.
    • Coercion: refusal and states of exception
  • 16. our liberal aim is “to democratise capitalism, to extend democratic control to the economy by means of media pressure, parliamentary inquiries, harsher laws, honest police investigations and so on.” Is it enough that “the institutional set-up of the (bourgeois) democratic state is never questioned”? Žižek, S. 2011. Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks. London Review of Books , 33, no. 2: 9-10
  • 17.  
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  • 20.  
  • 21. the logic of 'security' is the logic of an anti-politics in which the state uses 'security' to marginalize all else, most notably the constructive conflicts, the debates and discussions that animate political life, suppressing all before it and dominating political discourse in an entirely reactionary way. Neocleous, M. (2007). Security, Liberty and the Myth of Balance: Towards a Critique of Security Politics. Contemporary Political Theory 6, 131–149.
  • 22.  
  • 23.  
  • 24. What is to be done? Refuse, negate, push back. Or suffer coercion.
  • 25.  
  • 26.
    • “ The struggle is not for the University, but against what the University has become.”
    • Prof. Mike Neary (2010):
  • 27.
    • Occupation is painted as extremism
    • Yet there is a raft of them
    • Many with educational or outreach agendas
    • That give voice through communiques
    • And there are radical educational alternatives as works in progress
    • And worker/student movements in social centres and beyond
  • 28.
    • That reflect/refract/enhance the edufactory collective’s call for reinventing universities:
    • general assemblies as democratic process;
    • militant research strategies;
    • research/teaching/labour in public.
    • and which enable us to think through what might be saved from the historic University, as a commons of scholars. In public.
  • 29.
    • The crisis is our university!
    • A Manifesto of the Transnational Struggles Against the Financial (i.e. State-Private) University
    • Thesis #2: The opposite of capitalist globalization is not the sovereignty of the nation-state, but the globalization of struggles.
    • Thesis #4: The opposite of selection in education is not inclusion, but the radical critique of knowledge and the re-appropriation of our commonwealth.
    • Thesis #5: The opposite of university cuts is not money to the existing academic power, but claiming funds for autonomous education and the self-organization of knowledge production.
    • Thesis #9: The opposite of the corporate university is not the state/public university, but the common university.
    • The Knowledge Liberation Front (2011).
  • 30. and this is important because the University has been subsumed within the circuit of capital, so that it has become emblematic of capitalist social relations, driven by the abstracted power of money
  • 31.
    • and so the process of creating a Commons or a Network of Commons through dissent, occupation, protest and refusal and pushing back shows the courage we share in re-imagining and re-producing something different
  • 32.
    • What is the role of academics in this process of refusal/negation?
  • 33.  
  • 34. Reclaiming the idea of the University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License .