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Monthly Archives: February 2018

Glenn Rikowski

Misrepresentations: Critical Notes on Commodities and Education





Glenn Rikowski

Visiting Fellow, College of Social Science, University of Lincoln, UK


This is a paper I wrote in response to a presentation I went to at the 2017 Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) Annual Conference at Oxford, by David Bridges.

The paper was completed on 3rd October 2017, at is now available at Academia.



This paper argues that attempts to understand commodification in education and educational research without recourse to the greatest thinker on commodity forms – Karl Marx – inevitably leads to confusion and misrepresentation in educational theory. This is demonstrated through a critique of a recent paper by David Bridges (2017) where he focuses on commodification in education research. By ignoring the ideas of Marx, but also contemporary Marxist theorists writing on the commodity and commodification, Bridges fails to make crucial distinctions in the analysis of commodification, and also conflates and confuses concepts and their corresponding phenomena that should be kept separate. In the event, Bridges, and other mainstream educational theorists who avoid reference to Marx and Marxist theory, end up creating a host of misrepresentations in their analyses of educational commodification. Such approaches camouflage the capitalisation of education; that is, educational institutions ‘becoming capital’, the becoming of capital. These theorisations are superficial and politically misleading.



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Dr. Glenn Rikowski