With Joss Winn from the University of Lincoln, I’m running a workshop at the Discourse, Power and Resistance conference next Easter. Our abstract is as follows. [Note that Mike Neary from Lincoln is also running a session on The University and the City: the Social Science Centre, Lincoln – forming the urban revolution.]
Our discussion takes as its premises the following:
1. The University is being restructured through a neoliberal politics as part of a global pedagogical project.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. If this project is to be resisted then the marketised organising principles that underpin the idea of the University need to be challenged.
7. 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.
8. 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.