Monthly Archives: June 2015

Book launch: The Education of Radical Democracy

29 June 2015
2:00-3:00 p.m.
University of Lincoln

You are invited to an informal gathering to celebrate the publication of Dr. Sarah Amsler’s new book, The Education of Radical Democracy (Routledge, April 2015). The event will be held in MC0025 (Media, Technology and Humanities Building); tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.

The book will be introduced by Dr. Ana C. Dinerstein (University of Bath), author of The Politics Autonomy in Latin America: The Art of Organising Hope (2014).

The Education of Radical Democracy explores why radical democracy is so necessary, difficult, and possible and why it is important to understand it as an educative activity. The book draws on critical social theory and critical pedagogy to explain what enables and sustains work for radical democratization, and considers how we can begin such work in neoliberal societies today. Exploring examples of projects from the nineteenth century to the present day, the book sheds light on a wealth of critical tools, research studies, theoretical concepts and practical methods. It offers a critical reading of the ‘crisis of hope’ in neoliberal capitalist societies, focusing on the problem of the ‘contraction of possibilities’ for democratic agency, resistance to domination, and practices of freedom. It argues that radically democratic thinking, practice, and forms of social organization are vital for countering and overcoming systemic hegemonies and that these can be learned and cultivated. This book will be of interest to academics, practitioners, researchers, and students in education and critical theory, and to those interested in the sociology, philosophy and politics of hope. It also invites new dialogues between theorists of neoliberal power and political possibility, those engaged in projects for radical democratization, and teachers in formal and informal educational settings.

For further details about the book and library orders, see

The Research in Critical Education Studies (RiCES) group works to promote the development of rigorous, critical and socially engaged research for education. For more information, see

Occupying Education: the power of the empty signifier

On July 1st, Dr. Cassie Earl will be joining the School of Education and Research in Critical Education Studies group. We are delighted to welcome her to our community. Below is an abstract for a paper she presented recently at the 5th International Conference on Critical Education at the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw, Poland, entitled ‘Occupying education: the power of the empty signifier’.

“The global Occupy actions gave some pause for thought. At first, some thought that this was a global movement that could change the way politics was conducted and maybe see the end of capitalism as we knew it. The hopes for Occupy were high, but the highest hopes for the movement were short lived. This paper examines Occupy’s legacy; what potential remains and where we might go with it. It argue sthat Occupy became an empty signifier: a ‘bucket’ of discontent into which thousands of disjointed, dissenting voices and discontents were poured, ranging from the original Wall Street encampment to the Umbrella revolution in Occupy Central. The paper looks at the power of the ’empty signifier’ as a galvanising mechanism and explores what this could mean for education. The notion of occupying the curriculum in HE will be explored as a unifying mechanism for multidisciplinary teaching and learning.”

‘The future of the profession: A research afternoon on university political economy’ 

‘The future of the profession: A research afternoon on university political economy’

18 June 2015, 1:00-4:00pm, Business and Law building 1103

This seminar aims to be a lively discussion about university political economy through a reflection on its contemporary conditions and a reading of Jacques Derrida’s ‘The future of the profession or the university without condition (thanks to the “Humanities”, what could take place tomorrow)’ (1998).

It is free and open to all, but places are limited. Please register your interest with Sarah Amsler.

Reading group: ‘A Question of Silence: Why We Don’t Read Or Write About Education’

This month we are discussing Houman Harouni’s ‘A Question of Silence”: Why We Don’t Read Or Write About Education’ (2013)

11 June 2015, 2:30-4:00pm, Business and Law building 2010

‘Educationalists present schooling as being in a constant state of crisis. Ignoring for a second the obvious fact that without a crisis most educationalists would be out of a job—i.e., closing our eyes to their vested interest in the problem’s persistence—what does this crisis consist of? Apparently, the failure of schools to do what they are supposed to do. But what are they supposed to do? What is their purpose? And why should we stand behind their purpose? This is the line of inquiry that—can you believe it—is ignored…’

All welcome!

RiCES public seminar: Unpacking the ‘transnational associations of capitals’ in global higher education

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.