Unpacking the ‘transnational associations of capitals’ in global higher education: rankings and the subsumption of academic labour under academic publishing capital
Krystian Szadkowski, Adam Mickiewicz University
3 June | 12:30–2:00pm | Minerva Building 3202
This presentation explores the concept of ‘transnational association of capitals’ in the context of higher education (Hall, 2014; Ball, 2012). The focus will be on the conditions and consequences of the expansion of merchant capital (or capital involved in circulation), limited to large and quasi-monopolistic academic publishers. The claim behind this talk is that in order to grasp the specificity of the process of subsumption of academic labour under academic publishing capital, it is not enough to focus exclusively on proprietary relations (i.e. expropriation, enclosures, primitive accumulation, alienation). Such an analysis, although providing extremely rich material, has its limitations: capital may opt out from the private property form and ownership, but will never give up domination. The tool of capitalist domination and control, in all sectors of production, even immaterial and biopolitical, is measure. For this reason, this presentation will focus on the functionality of the capitalist mechanisms of establishing measures for the expansion of academic publishers’ capital based on the subsumption of global academic labour.
Krystian Szadkowski (1986), is an assistant professor at the Institute of Philosophy and a researcher at the UNESCO Chair for Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. His research interests cover Marxian political economy, autonomist Marxism and transformation of higher education systems in Europe. In 2014 he defended his PhD thesis entitled Towards the University as an Institution of the Common. Philosophical Foundations of the Critical Higher Education Studies [in Polish]. Recently, he co-edited a collected volume Joy Forever: The Political Economy of Social Creativity (MayFly 2014). He is also an editor-in-chief of peer-reviewed journal Praktyka Teoretyczna/Theoretical Practice.
The School of Education is hoping to recruit a Lecturer in Education, working across our post-graduate programmes (PhD, EdD, MA, PGCE) but with a focus on our new MA Education. If you’re interested and would like to speak to someone before you apply, please contact Sarah Amsler.
Here are the details and the link to the jobs site is also below:
Location: Brayford, Lincoln
Salary: From £31,342 per annum
Closing Date: Friday 08 May 2015
Interview Date: Wednesday 03 June 2015
The University of Lincoln is seeking to appoint a research-active Lecturer to teach in the School of Education for a fixed term of one year from 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2016. The School is a vibrant and intellectually stimulating centre of postgraduate teaching and research. It is now broadening the range of its educational programmes through the establishment of Master’s courses for PGCE students, a Master’s degree in Education, and research and educational partnerships with secondary schools and practicing teachers. The School aims to strengthen its relationships with schools and educational groups across Lincolnshire, and to produce research that contributes to innovative educational policy and practice. Current research areas within the School include alternative and informal education, critical pedagogies, educational leadership, higher education policy, science education, technology, the politics of education, the sociology of education, and a range of interests in pedagogy and curriculum.
A new journal article by Joss Winn has recently been published in Power and Education journal. For the first time, it reviews the emerging literature on co-operative higher education and offers a coherent theory of academic labour, the academic commons and critical pedagogy, based on our work on Student as Producer.
THE CO-OPERATIVE UNIVERSITY: LABOUR, PROPERTY AND PEDAGOGY
“I begin this article by discussing the recent work of academics and activists to identify the advantages and issues relating to co-operative forms of higher education, and then focus on the ‘worker co-operative’ organisational form and its applicability and suitability to the governance of and practices within higher educational institutions. Finally, I align the values and principles of worker co-ops with the critical pedagogic framework of ‘Student as Producer’. Throughout I employ the work of Karl Marx to theorise the role of labour and property in a ‘co-operative university’, drawing particularly on later Marxist writers who argue that Marx’s labour theory of value should be understood as a critique of labour under capitalism, rather than one developed from the standpoint of labour.”
You can download this article from the journal, Power and Education.
A pre-print version of this article is available from the University of Lincoln research repository.
An earlier and expanded version of this paper given at the ‘Governing Academic Life’ conference is also available from the University of Lincoln research repository.
Joss Winn recently gave a keynote talk at Newcastle College’s ‘Student as Producer’ conference. You can read the full script of his talk on his blog.
“Newcastle College should be commended for recognising the need to involve students in the governance of your institution. In your own HE Partnership Strategy you state that “meaningful partnership working is reliant upon the equal distribution of democratic power.” You argue rightly that this isn’t just achieved by listening to the so-called ‘student voice’ but by “empowering students to drive and implement change.” And “this will involve redistributing power across our HE communities up to and including HE Academic Board through engaging students in all stages of the decision making process.” My question to you is how do you intend to constitute this form of democracy. You say that you will embed it “throughout all aspects of the HE learning experience” but what constitutional form will that take and how will you hold each other to account? These are not questions unique to your own stated objectives, but are being asked all the time by people who desire democracy in their work as they do in their politics.
The question I am interested in then, is what steps might we take to reconstitute and transform our institutions into member-run, democratically controlled co-operatives? Institutions that enable us to reflect deeply on the conditions of present day knowledge production and truly put Student as Producer into practice?”
Joss Winn has a new article in Learning, Media and Technology journal. It’s part of a forthcoming special issue on ‘Critical Approaches to Open Education’. In addition, our colleague at DMU, Prof. Richard Hall, also has an article published in the same issue: For a political economy of massive open online courses.
Open Education and the emancipation of academic labour
I have previously argued that open education is a liberal project with a focus on the freedom of things rather than the freedom of people (Winn, Joss. 2012. “Open Education: From the Freedom of Things to the Freedom of People.” In Towards Teaching in Public: Reshaping the Modern University, edited by Michael Neary, Howard Stevenson, and Les Bell, 133– 147. London: Continuum). Furthermore, I have argued that despite an implicit critique of private property with its emphasis on ‘the commons’, the literature on open education offers no corresponding critique of academic labour (Neary, Mike, and Joss Winn. 2012. “Open Education: Common(s), Commonism and the New Common Wealth.” Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization 12 (4): 406–422). In this paper, I develop my critical position that an emancipatory form of education must work towards the emancipation of teachers and students from labour, the dynamic, social, creative source of value in capitalism. In making this argument, I first establish the fundamental characteristics of academic labour. I then offer a ‘form-analytic’ critique of open access, followed by a corresponding critique of its legal form. Finally, I critically discuss the potential of ‘open cooperatives’ as a transitional organisational form for the production of knowledge through which social relations become ‘transparent in their simplicity’ (Marx, Karl. 1976. Capital, Vol. 1. London: Penguin Classics, 172).
Download this article from Learning, Media and Technology journal.
A pre-print can be downloaded from the University of Lincoln research repository.
Last month, Dr. Sarah Amsler and Joss Winn presented papers at the EU-funded UNIKE conference: Universities in the knowledge economy: Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific and Europe. Their panel focused on panel focused on ‘Alternative Ways of Thinking the University’ and the overall theme of the conference was as follows:
“What is the place of universities in the emerging ‘ecology’ of higher education systems that straddle industry, government and the public sphere? How are universities negotiating the demands placed upon them to compete in the global knowledge economy? What new subjects and spaces are emerging under the new conditions of existence for universities? How do academics, students, managers and policy makers make sense of these changes? Are there alternative ways of organising the university and its relations with society and if so, where are these being developed?”
You can read Joss’ paper on his blog and read Sarah’s paper here.
May 13th 2015, 3.30-6.30pm. Marconi Building room 104, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford Campus.
Critical Knowledge and Praxis
The seminar will explore the fate of critical knowledge and praxis and how it might have a role in progressive politics and revolutionary struggles against current injustices created and exacerbated by the violence of capitalist abstractions: Money, the State and its other institutional forms, e.g. the neoliberal university.
A key issue for the seminar will be the extent to which it is possible to operate as a critical scholar within a neo-liberal university, and to what extent it is necessary to develop other social institutions to carry through with the implications that form the substance of our work.
Amsler, S. (2014) For feminist consciousness in the academy, Special Issue on Materialist Feminisms against Neoliberalism, Politics and Culture. Sarah’s new book ‘The Education of Radical Democracy‘ will be published in April.
Neary, M. (2014) ‘Making with the University of the Future: pleasure and pedagogy in higher and higher education’. In: J. Lea (Ed.) (2015) Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: engaging with the dimensions of practice. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Winn, J. (2015) The co-operative university: Labour, property and pedagogy. Power and Education, 7 (1).