Successfully reported this slideshow.
Your SlideShare is downloading. ×

On alienation, hopelessness and the abolition of the University

Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Loading in …3
×

Check these out next

1 of 32 Ad

On alienation, hopelessness and the abolition of the University

Download to read offline

Slides for presentation and seminar at the research group of Assembling Postcapitalist International Political Economies (POSTCAPE), at the University of Tampere, Finland. This is on Wednesday October 5th, 2022, at 15-18.00 (EEST) and 13-16.00 (BST). For details, see http://www.richard-hall.org/2022/09/07/online-seminar-the-alienated-academic-and-the-hopeless-university/

Slides for presentation and seminar at the research group of Assembling Postcapitalist International Political Economies (POSTCAPE), at the University of Tampere, Finland. This is on Wednesday October 5th, 2022, at 15-18.00 (EEST) and 13-16.00 (BST). For details, see http://www.richard-hall.org/2022/09/07/online-seminar-the-alienated-academic-and-the-hopeless-university/

Advertisement
Advertisement

More Related Content

More from Richard Hall (20)

Recently uploaded (20)

Advertisement

On alienation, hopelessness and the abolition of the University

  1. 1. On alienation, hopelessness and the abolition of the University Richard Hall ¦ @hallymk1 ¦ rhall1@dmu.ac.uk ¦ richard-hall.org
  2. 2. Categorical critique: explanation at a level that cuts through (i.e. intersects) the differences in professional experience, to find what is common among us. The hopelessness of labour: to mistake the manifestations for the cause of our problems breeds helplessness and hopelessness. An intersectional synthesis: connecting contemporary Marxism with the literature of feminisms, (de)colonialities, identities. What is to be done? How do we get ourselves out of this mess?
  3. 3. bell hooks Audre Lorde Angela Davis Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Sara Motta Sarah Amsler Vanessa Andreotti Joyce Canaan Linda Tuhiwai Smith Eve Tuck Eli Meyerhoff Nancy Fraser Fred Moten Nick Dyer-Witheford Karl Marx John Holloway Raya Dunayevskaya Gargi Bhattachariyya Krystian Szadkowski Joss Winn
  4. 4. The material and historical relationship between value and values: • relationships conditioned by competition and metrics; • intersectional inequalities and embedded ill-being; • performance management, workload inequalities and casualisation; • learning and teaching as service-driven innovation/commodification; • demands for knowledge exchange, research impact and commercialisation; • finance capital and the need for efficiencies/new markets; • USPs, brand, risk; • tensions between vocation and business; and • (data-driven) accountability, autonomy and authority. ‘To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin’. (hooks, 1994, p. 13)
  5. 5. whether academics are awake to their role in the reproduction of systems of alienating oppression… whether those who labour in academia are able to imagine that another world is possible. (TAA, p. 4)
  6. 6. Crisis infects academic life, whilst enabling the system of capital to be presented as a natural, transhistorical solution that requires an ongoing process of structural reform. (TAA, p. 37) [Alienated labour] grounded in a conscious and qualitative lack of agency or autonomy, where ongoing, systemic exploitation and dispossession are the norm… reproduced by the individual who has to submit through a lack of power-over her own social reproduction (TAA, p. 74)
  7. 7. Alienation erupts from the disconnection between political economy and human richness. Its realisation is driven by estrangement and loss catalysed by what it takes to produce an individual life in capitalist society. It is driven by the divorce of self from those processes of production. Moreover, alienation erupts from the enforced, disciplinary disconnection between ways of explaining and making the world. (TAA, p. 69)
  8. 8. The institutional mediations of the University force the academic to becomes complicit in protecting her labour-power, and seeking to enhance its value in the market [c.f. private property, commodity exchange and the division of labour]. This lack of subjective power catalyses further fragmentation between individuals, including intersectional injustices as subgroups are dominated and othered. (TAA, p. 90)
  9. 9. Weltschmerz: a world weariness that lies beyond anxiety, anguish or ennui; a deeper sense of hopelessness about the academic project. reflects not only their loss of self in their work, but also constant self- judgement through internalised performance management. (TAA, pp. 161-2)
  10. 10. whether a focus upon dignity in overcoming alienation and estrangement from production, society and the self is impossible from inside institutions (TAA, p. 223) The struggle for dignity is the struggle for a new form of revolutionary pedagogy at the level of society (TAA, p. 230) The practice of revolutionary education is to teach how to question our indignation and to learn how to move towards dignity, as a struggle for autonomy (TAA, p. 235)
  11. 11. we deceive ourselves if we believe that the structures which exist in order to reproduce capitalist social relations can be used as a means to overcome its alienating organisation of work. intellectual work, as opposed to academic labour, must be recombined at the level of society in ensuring that knowledge is socialised, and that productive technologies are collectively controlled, such that socially-necessary goods and services form a realm of abundance beyond self-sufficiency. (TAA, p. 244)
  12. 12. The struggle for academic dignity is therefore a struggle against academic labour and a struggle for love. The struggle for autonomy inside the University is the real struggle against the University. (TAA, p. 262) This is the struggle to question the conditions and contours of our social life. It is a movement of hearts against the present state of things; most importantly it is a movement of hearts against enclosure and foreclosure. (TAA, p. 263)
  13. 13. Faced by the realities and lived experiences of intersecting crises, the University has become hopeless, in two respects. 1. It has become a place that has no socially-useful role beyond the reproduction of capital, and has become an anti-human project devoid of hope. 2. It is unable to respond meaningfully with crises that erupt from the contradictions of capital.
  14. 14. At The End of History, the University is emblematic of the collapse in the symbolic power of humans to reimagine the world. Yet we are at the end of The End of History.
  15. 15. This book relates socially-useful, intellectual work to the idea of the University, in particular in the global North. In taking the University as its unit of analysis, the argument centres upon the critique of spaces that are often celebrated as places for self- actualisation, becoming and belonging. However, increasingly work inside these allegedly most liberal of institutions reflects a deformed reality, in which existences as students, teachers, professional services’ staff and researchers have become a source of hopelessness. (THU, p. 2)
  16. 16. Prosaically [and experienced differentially], hopelessness erupts from a ack of autonomy over working conditions, deepening performance management, and the intensification of work. These have become normalised through the generalisation of overwork, and in a lack of self-care, described as culturally-acceptable, self- harming activities. Poetically, our hopelessness reflects self-denial, and the denial of that for which humans yearn. University workers are subject to disconnections, separations, estrangements and modes of alienating work, which are enforced structurally. (THU, p. 2)
  17. 17. hopelessness has a layered complexity linked to an inability to consider future positives, such that a negative miasma or contagion generates vulnerability. Inside highly competitive environments, vulnerability also tends to shape a deeper relationship between defeat, entrapment and depression. A systemic treatment of hopelessness places the individual, her environment and her society into asymmetrical relationship, rather than focusing upon the individual’s learned helplessness or psychological deficits.
  18. 18. Cultures revealed as pathologies of overwork, self-harm and self- sacrifice. Activities of teaching, learning, research and administration that describe methodologies for control and performance management. Inside these financialised and abject forms, the pathological and methodological content of the institution is internalised by the University worker and their ego-identity, thereby diminishing the potential for mutuality.
  19. 19. hopelessness centres the concrete and abstract ways in which capitalism and its institutions continue to construct the world and dominate nature. Hoping that its entanglements might be overcome through evidence- based logic denies the reality that the University is a space for: scholarship that denies self-autonomy; community that denies true equality; and global conversations that reproduce coloniality, and refuse alternative ways of knowing the world. The University acts, not for society, but for capital as the automatic subject that mediates our existence and denies our being. (THU, p. 185)
  20. 20. Instead, what is required is an ability to organise intellectual life in society, rather than University workers helping to organise life for society. This must emerge from an understanding of the forms, pathologies and methodologies that the University represents, in order to give up on its possible redemption. It means grieving its loss in as full a way as possible, so that: first, its skills, knowledge and capabilities might be liberated into society; and second, new organising and governing principles might be enacted beyond its walls. (THU, p. 185)
  21. 21. If the point of being human is knowing and transforming ourselves, can we forget about acting on the system of production, and refocus our action upon ourselves, in order that we abolish the present state of things by abolishing ourselves? (THU, p. 198) by sitting with hopelessness and its entanglements with our desires for our work, our relationships, our environment and ourselves, we have the possibility to generate dialogue about the present state of things, in order to define new, absolutely negative paths. (THU, p. 200)
  22. 22. the alienated self and community must be abolished through social struggle, which seeks practices that transcend identification and organisation. (THU, p. 240) unfolding/sublation; entanglements/becoming; grieving/composting
  23. 23. The material production of new, plural histories and archives, written with care and compassion, describes the content of our beings at the intersection of crises. By sitting with hopelessness, we are able to discover that for which we yearn, grounded in the equality and dignity currently denied inside the hopeless University. In recognising that the University-as-is is antithetical to good living, we begin a qualitative leap that is grounded in struggle. Our struggle is to understand our entanglements, estrangements, and relations, and thereby to realise our many-sidedness. (THU, p. 251)
  24. 24. We are entangled. In respecting the unity of our difference, we can ask ‘the only scientific question that remains to us…: how the fuck do we get out of this mess?’ (Holloway 2010: 919). • How do we know our work? (singular, particular, universal) • Can we forgive the University? (essence, appearance, existence) • Can we hospice the University? (a new quality of life) • Can we compost how we feel about our work and lives? (negation of the negation)
  25. 25. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

×