Tag Archives: Marxism

Research seminar: Crises, Commodities and Education

Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski

Crises, Commodities and Education: Disruptions, Eruptions, Interruptions and Ruptures

Dr Glenn Rikowski, Independent Scholar

Thursday November 19th, 1.30-4pm, in room BH1201:

After a brief analysis of the concept of crisis (drawing on the work of Roitman, 2014) and following an outline and critique of some previous work (Rikowski, 2014) – on the Classical Theory of Education Crisis (in the light of Sarup, 1982) and philosophical perspectives on education crises – Rikowski explores the notion of crisis in relation to phenomena pertaining to the social forms of capitalist education. Starting out from Marx’s analysis of the ‘two great classes of commodities’ (following Adam Smith), Rikowski charts what ‘crisis’ might mean, and could be, in terms of the two commodity forms pertaining to educational processes in capitalist society. The final part of the paper explores actual and possible empirical manifestations of these crises of the commodity form in terms of the notions of disruption, eruption, interruption and rupture. It is argued that last two of these forms of crisis pose particular problems for the continuance and development of capitalism in general and the national capital and capitalist education in particular.

Open Education and the emancipation of academic labour

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.