Generative AI and re-weaving a pedagogical horizon of social possibility

I have a new article out in the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. It is entitled Generative AI and re-weaving a pedagogical horizon of social possibility.

This is my contribution to a Thematic Series on Higher Education Futures at the intersection of justice, hope, and educational technology
(Edited by: George Veletsianos, Shandell Houlden, Jen Ross, Sakinah Alhadad, Camille Dickson-Deane). I am privileged to be engaged with this thematic series. The article is available open access here. The abstract is given below.

Abstract

This article situates the potential for intellectual work to be renewed through an enriched engagement with the relationship between indigenous protocols and artificial intelligence (AI). It situates this through a dialectical storytelling of the contradictions that emerge from the relationships between humans and capitalist technologies, played out within higher education. It argues that these have ramifications for our conceptions of AI, and its ways of knowing, doing and being within wider ecosystems. In thinking about how technology reinforces social production inside capitalist institutions like universities, the article seeks to refocus our storytelling around mass intellectuality and generative possibilities for transcending alienating social relations. In so doing, the focus shifts to the potential for weaving new protocols, from existing material and historical experiences of technology, which unfold structurally, culturally and practically within communities. At the heart of this lies the question, what does it mean to live? In a world described against polycrisis, is it possible to tell new social science fictions, as departures towards a new mode of higher learning and intellectual work that seeks to negate, abolish and transcend the world as-is?


New book project: Beyond University Abolition

I have agreed a new book project with MayFly Books. Having worked with MayFly for my previous monograph, The Hopeless University in 2021, the ethos underpinning this publisher aligns with my own democratic and horizontal approach. I feel that the relations of production are generative and based on dialogue, and these prefigure ways of working for which we should all be struggling. I also felt very comfortable bringing my networks and communities into contact with MayFly, in order to support the open and inclusive approach of the Press. Moreover, it is important for me to bring my labour into play for radical publishers that are seeking to reimagine what academic scholarship might be, as an act of struggle.

The proposed title for the new work is: Beyond University Abolition: Imagining New Horizons for Intellectual Work with Mike Neary.

Overview

Beyond University Abolition (BUA) situates the work of UK educator, activist and scholar, Professor Mike Neary, against the traditions of indigenous, decolonial and abolitionist studies, in order to describe what lies at the horizon of University abolition, and what its transcendence might mean. Crucial in this analysis is an understanding of the contradictions between Neary’s revolutionary thinking and the intersectional, intercommunal and intergenerational realities of abolition. This has both theoretical and practical applications, and in the relationship between the concrete and the abstract, BUA will centre the idea of sublation, as an unfolding process of negating, abolishing and transcending. This brings our attention on the capitalist University into an engagement with a range of struggles that seek to transcend alienating social relations.

The book is the third in a triptych that began with an analysis of academic labour in universities of the global North, in The Alienated Academic (2018, Palgrave Macmillan). In The Hopeless University (2021, Mayfly Press), the analysis moved on to critique the political economy of those institutions. The approach in BUA will build from those analyses, to imagine intellectual activity otherwise, within a society that must negate, abolish and transcend its settler-colonial and racial-patriarchal, capitalist institutions.

The geography for Neary’s work on HE was ostensibly centred in the UK following the financial crash of 2007. BAU’s approach will bring this context into dialogue with four transnational themes.

  1. The 2010/11 struggles of students/intellectual workers in the UK, framed by the autonomist Marxist ontology of In-Against-Beyond. This highlights the material history of the Commons/co-operative praxis post-2010, in order to understand its limits in HE.
  2. Neary’s critical sociology, and practical experiments developed in common, at the intersection of: critical political economy of the University (new reading of Marx); pedagogical analyses of student-as-producer (following the Frankfurt School); revolutionary and avant-garde teaching; and, the co-operative governance of higher education.
  3. The humanism of Marx’s political economy, and in particular his philosophical and ethnographical work, centred around human becoming-in-community, as a process of sublation. This is enriched through the relational accountability of indigenous and decolonial practices, which centre respect for axiology, cosmology, ancestry, land, communities and values, and ask us to imagine the world otherwise.
  4. This communal and co-operative critique will be placed in dialogue with abolitionist praxis, in order to understand how abolitionist university studies might contribute to the generation of a new horizon for society. Wilson-Gilmore’s abolition geography points towards the liberation of space-time, realised beyond settler-colonial and racial-patriarchal institutions. This highlights the deep interconnections between institutions and social structures, like prisons, schools, universities, families, borders, and so on. Thus, abolitionist praxis offers a way of considering intellectual work beyond the alienating structures, cultures and practices of these disciplinary networks of institutions and disciplines.

This prioritises a methodology of critique, through a close reading that integrates Neary’s work with a range of abolitionist studies and practices, alongside decolonial and anti-colonial being and doing. This methodology seeks to use Neary’s work as a departure point for tracing the horizon of a society which no longer needs the University, or in which the University has been transcended through a process of sublation.


A statement from members of the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, demonstrating their solidarity with struggles for a free Palestine

The undersigned Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA) members, past and present, make the following statement in our personal capacities. We do so in light of recent correspondence on a Critical Geography email list from someone with links to CURA, which has a proud tradition of supporting struggles against injustice and oppression. The correspondence in question in no way reflects our views or the traditions of CURA. We recognize that these are stressful and traumatic times for members of the critical geography community and echo the sentiments of others who have emphasized the need for care, thoughtful debate, and solidarity in interactions on this forum. We likewise emphasize that trolling and harassing modes of engagement are in no way reflective of the values of CURA. The statement that follows situates the solidarity of some members of CURA with the struggles against settler-colonialism and a genocide in the making in Gaza.

A statement from members of the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, demonstrating their solidarity with struggles for a free Palestine.


for whom do we write as the world burns?

This is the text of the talk I have just given at the Symposium, Little Acts of Decolonization. I am very grateful to Juliet Henderson, Bally Kaur, Amrita Narang and Sayan Dey for their support. It erupts from some indignation in The Hopeless University. This symposium has been a gift.


A premise: for whom do we write as the world burns?

Where our writing is supposed to be excellent. Graded as 3* or 4*. Impactful. Entrepreneurial. With a tempo set externally. Regulated externally. Governed and measured externally. And that recalibrates our institutions and disciplines, or the subjects that discipline us. So those subjects and institutions discipline us epistemologically, ontologically and methodologically. To perform in particular ways.

And we might ask whether our being, doing, knowing and writing are simply reproducing, in and through the text, a collective life that is becoming more efficiently unsustainable.

Our knowing, doing, being and writing are shaped inside institutional and disciplinary structures, cultures and practices that are hopeless; hopeless in giving us the freedom to address crises of capitalism. Rather than helping us to imagine or reimagine the creation of a liveable environment for humans and non-human animals, our practices are designed to enable capital to reimagine itself. Moreover, we believe that our knowing, doing, being, and writing are a labour of love, which enable new forms of freedom, self-actualisation, social wealth or public good. Yet, they take place inside spaces of self-exploitation, self-harm, overwork, anxiety, dissonance. And these are amplified by the harassment, marginalisation and discrimination felt by certain bodies; amplified by methodologies that reproduce settler-colonial and racial-patriarchal cultures of silence as another violence. 

Some questions: So, we might ask: How do we write, not against what the University and its discipline(s) have become, but beyond the University and its discipline(s)? What would a society look like that no longer needed to write-up the University and its discipline(s), in order to justify those as its intellectual containers? What would intellectual work/practice look like in this society that no longer needed to write for-or-against the University and its discipline(s)? Could we write-down or write-off the debts that are attributed to us, inside the capitalist University?

In this, we might consider what do we need to negate, abolish and transcend inside ourselves, in order to write-up and tell-out our being-beyond the settler-colonial and racial-patriarchal University?

Some values

I am reminded that, in Living a Feminist Life, Sara Ahmed speaks for a being, doing and knowing that might also shape my writing. This is a plural mode (a pluriverse) that:

  • does not mean adopting a set of ideals or norms of conduct;
  • might mean asking ethical questions about how to live better in an unjust and unequal world (in a not-feminist and antifeminist world);
  • asks how to create relationships with others that are more equal;
  • asks how to find ways to support those who are not supported or are less supported by social systems; and
  • questions how to keep coming up against histories that have become concrete, histories that have become as solid as walls.

The archive

How do we write-up or write-down a new archive? This forces us to consider what has been written-off as invalid or unreliable. It forces us to consider for what kind of archive do we yearn? Achille Mbembe reminds us of the importance of expanding the human archive beyond what is deemed particularly valuable, and making richer, many-sided interconnections within it. Many-sided connections that reflect our humanity beyond the systemic desire to repurpose our lives as valuable, estranged, one-sided; as labour.

And here, the University cannot be transformed through the replacement of the archive of the high-performing, white man, whose privilege is based upon particular logics of intellectual and social reproduction, with that of another, particular, social subject.

Instead can we enact a process of writing-up a new sociability and relationality, which are ontologically and epistemologically plural? Unfolding. Composting what is, grieving what we have lost, imagining what might be.

Writing the Undercommons

And I am reminded that in this 10th anniversary of The Undercommons, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten spoke of acts of cultivation, and of cultivating Black study, possibly as a kind of fugitive planning. Such study is not what the University wants. Particular modes of study are what the university wants us to cultivate.

As Jack Halberstam wrote in the preface to the Undercommons (The Wild beyond: With and for the Undercommons) ‘the projects of “fugitive planning and black study” are mostly about reaching out to find connection; they are about making common cause with the brokenness of being, a brokenness, I would venture to say, that is also blackness, that remains blackness, and will, despite all, remain broken because this book is not a prescription for repair.’

He goes on to note that ‘we cannot be satisfied with the recognition and acknowledgement generated by the very system that denies a) that anything was ever broken and b) that we deserved to be the broken part; so we refuse to ask for recognition and instead we want to take apart, dismantle, tear down the structure that, right now, limits our ability to find each other, to see beyond it and to access the places that we know lie outside its walls.’

We want to write it off. We need to write-up another archive. The archive for which we yearn. An archive that refuses our enforced estrangement from, and competition with, each other.

Writing with-and-for

This is the general antagonism of expression; of writing-down the debts that they demand are repaid through academic work as a measurable, impactful, 4*, excellent labour of love. This general antagonism is not critique, but is study beyond what-is, in order to experiment with what-might-be.

And I remember that Subcommandante Marcos argued that our intellectual work needs to show ‘how the world was born and show where it is to be found’, and in this our yearning is to write-up our stories, and not as those stories form the University’s data-points. Co-opted by the University as objective data points, denying subjectivity, reproducing alienation and hopelessness.

Our with-and-for is not this. No.

We write-up and through our stories to end the world that refuses them. This is study with-and-for each other, and not with-and-for or inside-and-against the University and the discipline. The University and its discipline.

This with-and-for refuses the reality that our disciplines discipline us to write as if we are in a hostile world that needs to be tamed. It refuses a militarized and securitized writing-up of the world. It refuses a foreclosing of who we might be, and of our being and becoming. Our storytelling, dreaming, weaving, each refuse the desire of the institution to foreclose upon us; to reduce us to impactful, entrepreneurial, whatever. Or that we must be, in the words of Harney and Moten, finished, passed, completed.

Written-up as valuable; our insurance against the fear of being amortized as a cost that needs to be written-off.

This is antagonism against what Harney and Moten call the ‘deadening labor for the university, and beyond that, the negligence of professionalization, and the professionalization of the critical academic’.

Instead we might consider how we write to develop a mode of living together; a mode of being together that cannot be shared as a model, or a blueprint, or a utopia, but which shapes and cultivates an instance. An instance that is cultivated by study, in spite of one-sided, academic labour. How do we rupture this so that we can write from the standpoint of no standpoint, of everywhere and nowhere, of never and to come, of thing and no thing?

As The Undercommons closes out, Harney speaks of our ‘beginning with, and acting out, what [we] want’, as ‘a deepening of scale and the potentials of scale.’ He says ‘the further I get to the with and for, the happier I am.’

This is not our writing-down our one-sidedness, as a form of accounting and justifying. It is our writing that off. Writing that off as we write the world otherwise; acknowledging the debts that we have to each other. The many-sidedness of our knowing, being, and doing, as reciprocal debts and gifts.

The reciprocity and mutuality and dignity and telling-out of our souls.

Our ability to breathe in the world.

Our ability to imagine the world otherwise.

A richer archive for us to study, with-and-for.


Weaving other worlds with, against and beyond Marx

Back in December 2021 I began working with Inny Accioly (Fluminense Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Krystian Szadkowski (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland), on a Palgrave International Handbook of Marxism and Education. We hope that the Handbook will be published in late 2023.

Our overview noted that:

The Handbook to Marxism and Education is an international and interdisciplinary volume, which provides a thorough and precise engagement with emergent developments in Marxist theory in both the global South and North. Drawing on the work of authoritative scholars and practitioners, the Companion explicitly shows how these developments enable a rich historical and material understanding of the full range of education sectors and contexts.

The manuscript has now been delivered, with 30 chapters that seek to weave together stories, critiques, ways of knowing, and potential lines through, which address the starting point, in our introduction:

What is the role of education in the reproduction of the world? What is its role in capitalism’s valorization process? How do educational structures, cultures and practices reproduce the ways in which capitalism mediates everyday life for-value, through private property, commodity exchange, the division of labor and the market? In response to the alienating realities of twenty-first century life, how might we reimagine education for another world? These questions have gestated inside a space and time of polycrisis, or interconnecting crises of capitalist reproduction, ecosystem collapse and climate forcing, and misrepresentation and marginalization for some communities. In response, there is a renewed need for critiques that can unfold authentic and humane educational possibilities, beyond the commodity form.

Our intention has been to respect and reflect traditions of Marxist humanism, through the rich diversity of interpretation and applications of Marx in differing contexts. As a result, the chapters weave through the following.

  1. Core organizing and explanatory categories used by Marxists, including: abolition; abstract labor; abstraction; accumulation; alienation, class struggle; commodification; competition; dialectics; exploitation; expropriation; general intellect; historical materialism; human capital; labor-power; reproduction schemas; social reproduction; socially-necessary labor time; struggle; and, valorization.
  2. Theoretical and conceptual discussions of: the abolition of higher education; adult education; alienation and education; academic labor; the classroom; critical pedagogy; decolonizing the school; dialectical materialism; the educational Commons; educational reforms; feminist pedagogies; financialization of education; fixed capital and infrastructures; green Marxism, eco-socialism and pedagogy; Liberation Theology and education; Marxist-Humanism and women of color; measurement in education; needs in the capitalocene; onto-epistemologies and world changing; polytechnic education; queer Marxism as pedagogy; redistribution and public policy; research and commercialization in education; student movements; subsumption of education; workers’ education; and, value in education.
  3. Contextual discussions from Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, England, Finland, India, Latin America, Mozambique, Poland, Romania, South America, Spain, and the United States of America.

I. In: Marxist modes and characteristics of analysis in education

A set of 12 chapters that develop thinking around core terms like dialectical materialism, value, subsumption and alienation, and which set those up theoretically, or in relation either to specific areas of practice, like liberation theology and adult education, or to Marxist authors, like Althusser. 

  1. Introduction: the Relevance of Marxism to Education (Richard Hall, Inny Accioly and Krystian Szadkowski)
  1. Marx, Materialism and Education (Richard Hall)
  1. Value in Education: Its web of social forms (Glenn Rikowski)
  1. Breaking bonds: How academic capitalism feeds processes of academic alienation (Mikko Poutanen)
  1. The Class in Race, Gender, and Learning (Sara Carpenter and Shahrzad Mojab)
  1. Foundations and challenges of polytechnic education (Marise Nogueira Ramos)
  1. Liberation Theology, Marxism and Education (Luis Martínez Andrade and Allan Coelho)
  1. Marxism and Adult Education (John D Holst)
  1. In-Against-Beyond metrics-driven University: A Marxist critique of the capitalist imposition of measure on academic labour (Jakub Krzeski)
  1. Classroom as a site of class struggle (Raju J. Das)
  1. Science Communication, Competitive Project-based Funding and the Formal Subsumption of Academic Labour Under Capital (Luis Arboledas-Lérida)
  1. Commodification, the Violence of Abstraction, and Measuring Socially Necessary Labor Time: A Marxist Analysis of High-Stakes Testing and Capitalist Education in the United States (Wayne Au)
  1. The reproduction of capitalism in education: Althusser and the educational Ideological State Apparatus (Toni Ruuska) 

II. Against: Emerging currents in Marxism and education

Chapters that place critique in context, as being Against: Emerging currents in Marxism and education. These chapters develop their analyses globally or regionally, in relation to key themes like financialization, decoloniality and Green Marxism or Environmentalism, and also by queering our engagement with Marxism or focusing on student movements.

  1. Critique of the Political Economy of Education: Methodological Notes for the Analysis of Global Educational Reforms (Inny Accioly)
  1. The beginnings of Marxism and Workers’ Education in the Spanish-speaking Southern Cone: The case of Chile (María Alicia Rueda)
  1. Commodification and Financialization of Education in Brazil: trends and particularities of dependent capitalism (Roberto Leher and Hellen Balbinotti Costa)
  1. Critical environmental education, Marxism and environmental conflicts: Some contributions in the light of Latin America (César Augusto Costa and Carlos Frederico B. Loureiro
  1. Green Marxism, Ecocentric Pedagogies and De-capitalization/Decolonization (Sayan Dey)
  1. Indian Problem to Indian Solution: Using a Racio-Marxist Lens to Expose the Invisible War in Education (Linda Orie)
  1. Re-reading socialist art: the potential of queer Marxism in education (Bogdan Popa)
  1. Making sense of neoliberalism’s new nexus between work and education, teachers’ work, and teachers’ labor activism: Implications for labor and the Left (Lois Weiner)
  1. Contemporary Student Movements and Capitalism. A Marxist Debate (Lorenzo Cini and Héctor Ríos-Jara)

III. Beyond: Marxism, education and alternatives

Chapters that focus our attention Beyond: Marxism, education and alternatives. These chapters lead us into dialogue with human needs and the idea of social reproduction, and thinking about these issues in public policy and HE. We deliberately end by discussing the world otherwise, in relation to feminist counter-geographies from the South, decolonial feminisms, and a deep, relational activism

  1. Revisiting and revitalizing need as non-dualist foundation for a (r)evolutionary pedagogy (Joel Lazarus)
  1. Reproduction in Struggle (David I. Backer)
  1. State and Public Policy in Education: From the Weakness of the Public to an Agenda for Social Development and Redistribution (Felipe Ziotti Narita and Jeremiah Morelock)
  1. Marxism, (Higher) Education and the Commons (Krystian Szadkowski)
  1. Marx, Critique, and Abolition: Higher Education as Infrastructure (Abigail Boggs, Eli Meyerhoff, Nick Mitchell, and Zach Schwartz-Weinstein)
  1. Toward a Decolonial Marxism: Considering the Dialectics and Analectics in the Counter-Geographies of Women of the Global South (Lilia D. Monzó and Nidžara Pečenković)
  1. The (im)possibilities of revolutionary pedagogical-political kinship (m)otherwise: The Gifts of (Autonomous) Marxist Feminisms and Decolonial/Abolitionist Communitarian Feminisms to pedagogical-political projects of collective liberation (Sara C. Motta)
  1. Marxism in an Activist Key: Educational Implications of an Activist-Transformative Philosophy (Anna Stetsenko)

There is also a Series Editor’s Afterword: weaving other worlds with, against and beyond Marx (Richard Hall).

Whilst the Handbook criticizes capitalist education, and attempts to present the reader with perspectives for overcoming its alienating realities, it is also subject to its effects. In inviting authors and curating the chapters, sickness and work overload have disproportionately affected women and groups systemically made marginal. It grieves us that these invited voices are not present, because of the everyday realities of survival inside capitalism. This reiterates the importance of the work that we must undertake, of liberation through mutuality and dignity in action. It reiterates the importance of material and historical solidarity, as a pedagogical process emanating from within and across society.

A more diverse spread of chapters was commissioned but proved impossible to deliver. This would have included more work: from national liberation struggles in the Middle East and North Africa; in theory generated from Sub-Saharan Africa; in the praxis of community struggles in alternative cultural systems, like that of India; and, from the development of Marxism in China. Such analyses would also have drawn in thinkers not represented here in detail.

However, as editors, we encourage readers to engage with our Handbook as a contribution to the rich archive detailing how Marx’s work has been infused with concrete, material struggles. In so-doing, we ask readers to reflect upon their own work in relation to what Marx and Engels called communism, which, as the infinite process of critique, is ‘the real movement which abolishes the present state of things.’

In reflecting upon the gift of sitting with these 30 chapters, I infer that they offer a consensus that our ontological, epistemological and methodological horizons must push against the law of value. Yet they also unfold myriad ways of analyzing with Marx how we might move through intellectual work in society, such that a new form of becoming accepts and shapes the individual as a many-sided being (in dialogue with other, many-sided beings). At the heart of the matter then is our ability in-common to tell stories of dignity and mutuality that generate the courage and faith to imagine and make concrete the voices of the dispossessed:

Everything for everyone. Until this is true, there will be nothing for us.


A conversation at the Documentary Media Centre for #16DaysOfActivism

I spoke with John Coster yesterday (yeah, yeah, I know it was a UCU strike day) for Day 6 of #16DaysOfActivism from across the Parallel Lives Network. The programme takes a look at the range of takes on activism and what it means in practice. It runs from Friday 25th November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – through to Human Rights Day on Saturday 10th December.

Our discussion focused on hopelessness and hope in-and-against the University. It spoke to issues of voice, grief, hospicing and abolition, in our intellectual work. It reminded me that when I wrote about courage, faith, justice, hope and peace, those values and their interrelationships are still important to me. You can access the full programme from the Parallel Lives Network site, and our discussion is available for Day 6, or below.

 


Decolonising the PGR experience: resources

I am privileged to have been asked to speak today at the University of Exeter, Decolonising Research Festival.

NB I owe a huge debt to Drs Lucy Ansley and Paris Connolly who have made huge contributions to this work. It’s a partnership with them.

As is usual when I get a fee for speaking, I will be donating to a local rape crisis centre, so that the money stays in the local community. 

My slides are available from slide share and can be accessed below. There are some other, research-related resources, as follows.


‘Whiteness is an immoral choice’: The idea of the University at the intersection of crises

With Raj Gill at DMU, and Sol Gamsu at Durham, I have a paper accepted in Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education Research, entitled ‘Whiteness is an immoral choice’: The idea of the University at the intersection of crises.

It is in a Special Issue on Higher Education in the Eye of the Covid-19 Storm, edited by Jason Arday and Vikki Boliver.

In it, we argue that whiteness has historical and material legitimacy, reinforced through policy and regulation, and in English HE this tends, increasingly, to reframe struggle in relation to culture wars. This article argues that the dominant articulation of the University, conditioned by economic value rather than humane values has been reinforced and amplified during the Covid-19 pandemic. The argument pivots around UK Government policy and guidelines, in order to highlight the processes by which intellectual work and the reproduction of higher education institutions connects value-production and modes of settler-colonial and racial-patriarchal control.


new book: The Palgrave International Handbook of Marxism and Education

Working with Inny Accioly (Fluminense Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Krystian Szadkowski (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland), I have a contract with Palgrave Macmillan for an International Handbook of Marxism and Education. Our working proposal is appended below. We hope for a draft to be submitted in mid-2023.

Overview

The Handbook to Marxism and Education is an international and interdisciplinary volume, which provides a thorough and precise engagement with emergent developments in Marxist theory in both the global South and North. Drawing on the work of authoritative scholars and practitioners, the Companion explicitly shows how these developments enable a rich historical and material understanding of the full range of education sectors and contexts. In this, it will develop a dialectical understanding of the interactions between the following.

  • The importance of Marx’s dialectical method in critiquing education.
  • Transnational and national governance, regulation and funding of education.
  • Histories and geographies of educational development and change, for instance in relation to corporate forms, the binaries of public/private education, issues of marketisation and commodification.
  • The structures, cultures and practices of formal and informal educational organisations.
  • The lived experiences of education by centring a range of intersectional analyses.
  • The educational role of new social and political movements, like decolonising, indigenous rights, Black Lives Matter and Rhodes must Fall.
  • The web of life and ecological readings of education.

This work proceeds in a spirit of openness and dialogue within and between various conceptions and traditions of Marxism, and brings those conceptions into dialogue with their critics and other anti-capitalist traditions. The Handbook contributes to the development of Marxist analyses that push beyond established limits, by engaging with fresh perspectives and views, which disrupt established perspectives as a movement of dignity. Following the introduction, the work is divided into three parts.

  1. Marxist modes and characteristics of analysis in education’, which provides a broad conceptual and historical context
  2. Emerging currents in Marxism and education‘, which tracks the trajectories of emerging and developing issues in education.
  3. Marxism, education and alternative conceptualisations of life’, which examines in detail the possibility to describe alternative educational futures.

The Handbook is designed to be an emerging, deliberative and dialogic guide to the relationship between Marxism and education.

  1. The Handbook focuses upon the intersection of the plurality of Marxist traditions, with both the full range of transnational educational contexts, and the historical/material development of categorical analyses in relation to emerging social issues. In this way, it mirrors the objectives of relevant companions to Marx’s Capital, which seek to interpret from specified positions, and enable the reader to generate analytical tools for themselves in their own context.
  2. The Handbook enables material and historical analyses of emerging currents that are shaping education globally, including how capitalism is re-engineering learning environments, teaching practices, and student engagement and learning, alongside the national and transnational governance, regulation and funding of educational institutions.
  3. The Handbook provides a rich, conceptual and transnational engagement with emerging work on alternative perspectives, including: Buen Vivir, Critical Environmental Education, “Environmental Justice and the web of life; critical university studies; movements for institutional abolition; critical or radical pedagogy; and social justice, including #BLM, decolonising, indigeneity and critical feminism.

NB The intention is to connect with a full range of emergent issues, rather than develop a standard genealogy or archaeology of Marxist categories as they apply to educational contexts. Thus, there is a deep engagement with issues of social justice, for instance, in relation to decolonising, indigeneity, queer education and intersectionality. There is a desire to draw out the links between structures, cultures and practices of education through a Marxist lens, and to bring these into conversation with emergent issues in relation to identity, environment, social reproduction and so on.

NB there is dialogue and negotiation with authors to be undertaken, including through the process of drafting chapters. This will undoubtedly impact the ways in which the volume is structured over-time, and we will keep this under review.

Finally, and crucially, the Handbook will recognise and work with genealogies and archeologies of work that has been undertaken in relation to Marxism and Education. These genealogies, and the authors who are so central to them, will be referenced and referred to within the Handbook. However, we do not see the Handbook working within/from those genealogies and archeologies. We do not wish to maintain established or dominant perceptions and conceptualisations of Marxism and education, rather we wish to disrupt those and engage established positions in a dialogue with emerging issues (for instance, intersectionality, decolonising, the web of life). We also wish to give a range of authors, from contexts previously made marginal, new spaces for voicing and weaving.

As a result, we look forward to disrupting particular positions and opening-up/out the possibility of new research and new voices shaping the direction for the field. In any authentic and meaningful, pedagogic and educational engagement with a range of intersecting, global crises, new voices and positions are required. Other ways of knowing and imagining and being in the world have never been more urgent.


Published, The Hopeless University: Intellectual Work at the end of The End of History

The Hopeless University: Intellectual Work at the end of The End of History has been published by MayFly Books, and is available as a download from the MayFly website. If you do read/download from there please consider donating to support this valuable, radical open access press. NB it can be purchased from Amazon, although it is print on demand, so other retailers should be available.

Endorsements can be viewed here.

There is a synopsis here.

There is a podcast here.

I presented some ideas, with a recording and Q&A here.

A video dialogue with Joel Lazarus on his Agent of History site will follow.

There is a published article here.

There is music by Rae Elbow and the Magic Beanhere. NB a wonderful, full album in partnership with Rae Elbow will be released with the book. It’s a multimedia sensation.

I’m presenting on this in June at both Durham University and also Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. You will be able to sign-up for the latter from the Philosophy of Higher Education website.