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higher education and the discipline of shock


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a conversation at the CitizensEye-inspired Community Media Week in Leicester,on Tuesday 7 June 2011. theconversation wraps around a viewing of Naomi Klein's, The Shock Doctrine.

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higher education and the discipline of shock

  1. 1. higher education and the discipline of shock Richard Hall @hallymk1
  2. 2. The Shock Doctrine: ‘control by imposing economic shock therapy’. • structural re-adjustment: competition and coercion (internationalisation) • a tightening/quickening of the dominant ideology (student-as- consumer; HE-as-commodity) • the transfer of state/public assets to the private sector (efficiency) • the lock-down of state subsidies for ‘inefficient’ work (Bands C and D funded subjects) • the privatisation of state enterprises in the name of consumer choice, economic efficiency or sustainability • a refusal to run deficits, catalysing pejorative cuts to state services • extending the financialisation of capital and the growth of consumer debt, through increased fees • a controlled, economically-driven, anti-humanist ideology Klein, N. (2007). The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Metropolitan Books: New York
  3. 3. New system transfers the cost of HE from the taxpayer to graduates themselves Dearden et al. (2010)
  4. 4. HE is no longer immune from the systemic, internal, totalising logic of the capitalist system [c.f. Hardt and Negri, the social factory, Empire, Multitude] ‘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.
  5. 5. “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”:
  6. 6. Debt is a way of life. "Anyone put off... university by fear of... debt doesn’t deserve to be at university in the first place“. Michael Gove, quoted at Next Left:
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. for the idea of the University? “The struggle is not for the University, but against what the University has become.” Professor Mike Neary (2010):
  9. 9. In. Against. Beyond. ‘the universalization of capitalism not just as a measure of success but as a source of weakness... It can only universalize its contradictions, its polarizations between rich and poor, exploiters and exploited. Its successes are also its failures.’ ‘Now capitalism has no more escape routes, no more safety valves or corrective mechanisms outside its own internal logic... the more it maximizes profit and so-called growth – the more it devours its own human and natural substance’. Meiksins-Wood, E. (1997). Back to Marx. Monthly Review, 49(2), 8-9.
  10. 10. In. Against. Beyond. What is to be done?
  11. 11. Student-as-producer: The Really Open University: The University of Utopia: The UCL occupation: The Social Science Centre: The University for Strategic Optimism: The Really Free School: The Third University:
  12. 12. “At the heart of it all is a new sociological type: the graduate with no future”. Paul Mason, why it is kicking off everywhere “The big takeaway from today is that the trade union movement is certainly a force to be reckoned with: what it chooses to do now will be interesting because Miliband's strategists certainly want nothing to do with the mass, co- ordinated strike movement”. Paul Mason, A snapshot of the 26 March demo
  13. 13. Licensing This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution- Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license See: