For a co-operative university?


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For a co-operative university?

  1. 1. Discussion: For a co-operative university? Joss Winn Centre for Educational Research and Development University of Lincoln @josswinn
  2. 2. Premise • The University is being restructured through a neoliberal politics as part of a global pedagogical project. • This project is aimed at the dispossession of free space/time so that all of life becomes productive and available for the extraction of surplus value. • This pedagogic project is recalibrating and enclosing the roles of teachers and students as entrepreneurial subjects. In part it is also creating a surplus academic population, consisting of the academic unemployed, the precariat, the outsourced, and so on. • If this project is to be resisted then the premises that underpin the economic utility of higher education as a positional good need to be revealed. • If this project is to be resisted then the idea of academic labour that underpins employment in the increasingly digitised and stratified universities of the global North needs to be critiqued. • If this project is to be resisted then the marketised organising principles that underpin the idea of the University need to be challenged. • If this project is to be resisted then educators need to define structures and practices that reinforce the sociability of everyday life, in order to realise new opportunities for pedagogic co-operation. • If this project is to be resisted then histories and cultures of co-operative education need to be revealed and critiqued. The session will briefly position these headline statements about the idea of the University, and of academic labour, in the UK. The session will then ask participants to uncover stories of how and where pedagogy/educational institutions might be used for co-operation rather than competition. The session will ask participants to discuss what a co-operative University might look like.
  3. 3. Themes • Neoliberalism/Capitalism/Capital. A mode of production and a social relation (subjectivity) based on waged work and private property. • Political economy of higher education – Academic labour – HEIs as means of (knowledge) production – Markets and competition • Resistance, alternatives, transitions.
  4. 4. Student as Producer “The idea of student as producer encourages the development of collaborative relations between student and academic for the production of knowledge. However, if this idea is to connect to the project of refashioning in fundamental ways the nature of the university, then further attention needs to be paid to the framework by which the student as producer contributes towards mass intellectuality. This requires academics and students to do more than simply redesign their curricula, but go further and redesign the organizing principle, (i.e. private property and wage labour), through which academic knowledge is currently being produced.” Neary & Winn, 2009, 137
  5. 5. Radical and realistic “The Co-operative University appears like a radical idea initially, but this investigation indicates it is a realistic and desirable aim to adopt co-operative principles in the running of universities... The benefits are multiple, and I offer arguments and examples that demonstrate the co-operative advantage that universities might enjoy: more committed staff, better connections with community and business, and an organisational character that puts education at its core.” Cook, Dan (2013: 57)
  6. 6. What form does a ‘co-operative university’ take? What does it look like? 1. Conversion 2. Dissolution 3. Creation
  7. 7. What are the values and principles of the co-operative movement? Values: • self-help, self- responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity Principles: • Voluntary and open membership • Democratic member control • Member economic participation • Autonomy and independence • Education, training and information • Co-operation among co-operatives • Concern for community
  8. 8. Elsewhere op-universities