Lifted from the Marxism and Education Renewing Dialogues Facebook feed: final notice of Marxism and Education Renewing Dialogues (MERD) Seminar, Education from Brexit to Trump… Corbyn and beyond?
Wednesday 3rd May 2017, 10am-4pm
University of East London, Stratford Campus, Cass School of Education, room ED4.02.
At this 19th MERD seminar we will review the emergent contemporary crises of capitalism. In this context, we will focus on education and educating across the social spectrum of institutional and wider social formation to progress class struggle, critique and action. Our four speakers have provided the following blurbs about their presentations.
Tony Green (UCL Institute of Education)
Educating the Educators and the Emergent Secular Crises of Contemporary Capitalism: From Brexit to Trump and Corbyn… to Snap Election … and Beyond?
The introduction aims to draw attention to a collection of issues and themes likely to occupy us during the day. The broad and open-ended agenda is intended to be suggestive of potentially ‘educative’ contexts about how exchange values dominate use values, and where systemic shifting of value and power upwards in support of structures of global oligarchy and plutocratic elite class hegemony, is concurrent with ongoing secular crises of capitalism. Is the apparent ever-rising tide of ‘prosperity’ contributing to human emancipation and flourishing? We need to address the global capitalist system, and metabolism in its, tensions and contradictions, with complex and dynamic ramifications at local, regional, national and international levels. The aim of these introductory remarks is to remind ourselves of current events and possible underlying dynamics that set analytic, strategic and tactical challenges… not least, the performative … during these ever-interesting times. Huge and urgent questions have to be addressed in specific and local contexts: Are all the cards being thrown into the air? Are there inbuilt legitimation crises playing out across the institutional forms of politics? What are the prospects for the anthropocene? Time to act … now! What is to be done…?
Hillary Wainwright (Red Pepper Magazine Editor)
The importance of practical knowledge to the possibility of a new politics from the left
I’ll draw on themes associated with socialist humanist work of Gramsci, Williams and, Thompson, and against a background of recognising that evocations of the organised working class were thwarted too many times, including by leaderships that did not actually believe in the capacity of the supporters, to convince me. Radical social change is surely more than workplace organisation, radical leadership and a conventional political party of the left.
Terry Wrigley (Visiting Professor at Northumbria University, editor International Journal Improving Schools, and co- coordinator of Reclaiming Schools network)
England is an epicentre and laboratory for neoliberal education policy in advanced econo-mies, with a unique mix of neoconservative ingredients. It has the tightest accountability framework (tests, league tables, Ofsted, performance pay etc), extensive privatisation, a curriculum which systematically excludes critical social knowledge, and hegemonic dis-courses around ‘choice’, ‘standards’, ‘leadership’ and ‘social mobility’. For critical educators, the pressing challenges include:
- making critical theory and research knowledge available to a teaching profession increasingly restricted to short-term pragmatics;
- rethinking curriculum, assessment and pedagogy beyond binaries of ‘academic / vocational’ and ‘knowledge / practice’;
- protecting spaces for critical understanding and creativity;
- critiquing the distortions of ‘social mobility’ and ‘closing the gap’ in socially just ways;
- finding educative responses to the social futures facing young people (Austerity, precarity, migration, militarism).
Richard Hall (De Montfort University)
On the alienation of academic labour and the possibilities for mass intellectuality
As one response to the secular crisis of capitalism, higher education is being proletarianised. Its academics and students, encumbered by precarious employment, overwhelming debt, and new levels of performance management, are shorn of any autonomy. Increasingly the labour of those academics and students is subsumed and re-engineered for value produc-tion, and is prey to the vicissitudes of the twin processes of financialisation and marketiza-tion. At the core of understanding the impact of these processes and their relationships to higher education is the alienated labour of the academic, as it defines the sociability of the University. This paper examines the role of alienated labour in academic work, and relates this to feelings of hopelessness, in order to ask what might be done differently. The argu-ment centres on the role of mass intellectuality, or socially-useful knowledge and knowing, as a potential moment for overcoming alienated labour.
Organised by Tony Green and Alpesh Maisuria
The seminar is free and open to all, no registration required. Please circulate widely and feel free to attend as much of the day as you possibly can.
Stratford campus is walkable from the nearest stations: Stratford / Stratford International, and Maryland. More travel information can be found here:https://www.uel.ac.uk/About/Finding-us