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Tag Archives: Academic capitalism

Education Not for Sale

Education Not for Sale

THE LABOUR OF ACADEMIA

ephemera: theory & politics in organization

The labour of academia

Submission deadline: 28 February 2015

Call for Papers

 

Issue Editors: Nick Butler, Helen Delaney and Martyna Śliwa

It is well known that the purpose of the contemporary university is being radically transformed by the encroachment of corporate imperatives into higher education (Beverungen, et al., 2008; Svensson, et al., 2010;). This has inevitable consequences for managerial interventions, research audits and funding structures. But it also impacts on the working conditions of academic staff in university institutions in terms of teaching, research, administration and public engagement. Focusing on this level of analysis, the special issue seeks to explore questions about how the work of scholars is being shaped, managed and controlled under the burgeoning regime of ‘academic capitalism’ (Rhoades and Slaughter, 2004) and in turn to ask what might be done about it.

There is a case to be made that the modern university is founded on principles of rationalization and bureaucratization; there has always been a close link between money, markets and higher education (Collini, 2013). But the massification of higher education in recent years, combined with efforts to reduce the reliance on state funding, has led to the university being managed in much the same way as any other large industrial organization (Morley, 2003; Deem, et al., 2007). This is particularly pronounced in an economy that privileges knowledge-based labour over other forms of productive activity, which underlines Bill Readings’ (1996: 22) point that the university is not just being run like a corporation – it is a corporation. We witness this trend in the increasing prominence of mission statements, university branding and cost-benefit analysis (Bok, 2009). We also see it in the introduction of tuition fees, which turns students into consumers, universities into service-providers, and degree programmes into investment projects (Lawrence and Sharma, 2002). Universities are now in the business of selling intangible goods, not least of all the ineffable product of ‘employability’ (Chertkovskaya, et al., 2013).

In parallel, there has been a marked intensification of academic labour in recent years, manifested in higher work-loads, longer hours, precarious contracts and more invasive management control via performance indicators such as TQM and the balanced scorecard (Morley and Walsh, 1996; Bryson, 2004; Archer, 2008; Bousquet, 2008; Clarke, et al., 2012). The personal and professional lives of academic staff are deeply affected by such changes in the structures of higher education, leading to increased stress, alienation, feelings of guilt and other negative emotions (Ogbonna and Harris, 2004).

While many scholars suffer under these conditions, others find themselves adapting to the tenets of academic enterprise culture in order to seek out opportunities for career development and professional advancement. The consequences for the quality of scholarship, however, may be far from positive. Indeed, recent studies suggest that academics may be more willing to ‘play the publication game’ at the expense of genuine critical inquiry (Butler and Spoelstra, 2014). There is a palpable sense that ‘journal list fetishism’ (Willmott, 2011) is coming to shape not only patterns of knowledge production in higher education but also how academics are coming to relate to themselves and their own research. These trends suggest that the Humboldtian idea of the university – which measures the value of scientific-philosophical knowledge (Wissenschaft) according to the degree of cultivation (Bildung) it produces – has been superseded by a regime based on journal rankings, citation rates, impact factors and other quantitative metrics used to assess and reward research ‘output’ (Lucas, 2006).

Some scholars have pointed to the possibilities for resistance to the regime of academic capitalism. Rolfe (2013) suggests that what is required is the development of a rhizomatic paraversity that operates below the surface of the neoliberal university. This would serve to reintroduce the ‘non-productive labour of thought’ (2013: 53) into university life, thereby emphasizing quality over quantity and critique over careerism. Efforts such as Edu-factory may also point towards fruitful directions for the future of higher education beyond neoliberal imperatives (Edu-factory Collective, 2009). In this special issue, we seek to diagnose the state of the contemporary university as well as uncover potentialities for dwelling subversively within and outside the ‘ruins of the university’ (Readings, 1996; Raunig, 2013).

Towards this aim, we invite submissions that consider the following questions:

  • What are the new and emerging discourses of academic work?
  • What is being commodified under conditions of academic capitalism and what are the consequences?
  • How are current trends shaping the way academics relate to themselves, their research, peers, students, the public and other stakeholders?
  • How does alienation and exploitation occur in the academic labour process?
  • In what ways do gender, race, sexuality, age and class matter to the study of academic labour?
  • What is happening to academic identity, ethos and ideals in the contemporary university?
  • How do academics cope with the demands and tensions of their work?
  • How can we theorise the historical shifts surrounding academic labour?
  • How is the academic labour market being polarized?
  • What are the varieties of academic capitalism in different terrains?
  • How do we account for the historical shift in academic labour?
  • What are the rewards and riches of contemporary academic labour?
  • How can we imagine alternative choices, collectives, discourses and identities in the university?
  • Is it worth defending the current conditions of academic work?

Deadline for submissions: 28th February 2015

All contributions should be submitted to one of the issue editors: Nick Butler (nick.butler  AT fek.lu.se), Helen Delaney (h.delaney AT auckland.ac.nz) or Martyna Śliwa (masliwa AT essex.ac.uk).

Please note that three categories of contributions are invited for the special issue: articles, notes, and reviews. All submissions should follow ephemera’s submissions guidelines (www.ephemerajournal.org/how-submit). Articles will undergo a double blind review process.  For further information, please contact one of the special issue editors.

References

Archer, L. (2008) ‘The new neoliberal subjects? Young/er academics’ constructions of professional identity’, Journal of Education Policy, 23(3): 265-285.

Beverungen, A., S. Dunne and B.M. Sørensen (2008) ‘University, failed’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 8(3): 232-237.

Bok, D. (2009) Universities in the marketplace: The commercialization of higher education. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Bousquet, M. (2008) How the university works: Higher education and the low-wage nation. New York: NYU Press.

Bryson, C. (2004) ‘What about the workers? The expansion of higher education and the transformation of academic work’, Industrial Relations Journal, 35(1): 38-57.

Butler, N. and S. Spoelstra (2014) ‘The regime of excellence and the erosion of ethos in critical management studies’, British Journal of Management,  DOI: 10.1111/1467-8551.12053.

Chertkovskaya, E., P. Watt, S. Tramer and S. Spoelstra (2013) ‘Giving notice to employability’,ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 13(4): 701-716.

Clarke, C., D. Knights, and C. Jarvis (2012) ‘A labour of love? Academics in business schools’,Scandinavian Journal of Management, 28(1): 5-15.

Collini, S. (2013) ‘Sold out’, London Review of Books, 35(20): 3-12.

Deem, R., S. Hillyard and M. Reed (2007) Knowledge, higher education, and the new managerialism: The changing management of UK universities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Edu-factory Collective (2009) Towards a global autonomous university. New York: Autonomedia.

Lawrence, S. and U. Sharma (2002) ‘Commodification of education and academic labour: Using the balanced scorecard in a university setting’, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 13(5): 661-677.

Lucas, L. (2006) The research game in academic life. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill International.

Morley, L. (2003) Quality and power in higher education. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill International.

Morley, L. and V. Walsh (eds.) (1996) Breaking boundaries: Women in higher education. London: Taylor & Francis.

Ogbonna, E. and L.C. Harris (2004) ‘Work intensification and emotional labour among UK university lecturers: An exploratory study’, Organization Studies, 25(7): 1185-1203.

Readings, B. (1996) The university in ruins. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Rolfe, G. (2013) The university in dissent: Scholarship in the corporate university. London: Routledge.

Rhoades, G. and S. Slaughter (2004) Academic capitalism and the new economy: Markets, state, and higher education. Baltimore: JHU Press.

Raunig, G. (2013) Factories of knowledge, industries of creativity. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Svensson, P., S. Spoelstra, M. Pedersen and S. Schreven (2010) ‘The excellent institution’,ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 10(1): 1-6.

Willmott, H. (2011) ‘Journal list fetishism and the perversion of scholarship: reactivity and the ABS list’, Organization, 18(4): 429-442.

 

See: http://www.ephemerajournal.org/content/labour-academia-0

ephemera: http://www.ephemerajournal.org/

Teaching Marx

Teaching Marx

**END**

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Commons

BENEATH THE UNIVERSITY, THE COMMONS

 

Beneath the University, the Commons
A conference at the University of Minnesota
April 8-11, 2010

// Antioch 05.08 // Rome 10.08 // Athens 12.08 // New York City 12.08 // Helsinki 03.09 // Zagreb 05.09 // Heidelberg 06.09 // London 06.09 //Santa Cruz 09.09//

Seemingly discrete struggles over the conditions of university life have erupted around the world within the past year. These struggles share certain commonalities: outrage over precarious and exploitative conditions, the occupation of university spaces, and goals of reclaiming education from state and corporate interests.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that recent struggles over the university are not merely discrete events. They express a wider collective desire for direct control over the means of production and forms of life; a desire to create relationships of learning,  
collaboration, and innovation beyond the university’s attempts to quantify and discipline them.

Although the modern university has served the interests of the state and capital since its inception, the past thirty years have witnessed tightened ties with corporate, financial, and geopolitical interests. The subsumption of higher education under capital-driven business models has intensified the expropriation of the products of cooperative labor.  With the proliferation of student-consumer and scholar-manager subjectivities, we increasingly find ourselves uncomfortably and often unwittingly occupying the role of active participants in these trends.  As the global struggles over the past year have illustrated, however, opposition to these mechanisms of capture is mounting, as are creative strategies for alternatives and exodus.  Struggles against the corporate university are linking up across borders; the slogan of the International Student Movement, “One World – One Struggle : Education is Not for Sale,” and the slogan of the Anomalous Wave, “We Won’t Pay for Your Crisis,” appear in actions across Europe, the Americas, and South Asia.

“Beneath the University, the Commons” builds on the work accomplished by activists, organizers, artists, and academics at the “Re-thinking” and “Re-working” the University Conferences of 2008 and 2009 (http://www.reworkingtheu.org), while expanding the scope of our discussions and bringing together more international scholars in order to address an increasingly volatile global situation.  Our goal is to aggregate and accelerate our knowledge of university conditions and our collective acts of resistance to them, including alternative forms of engaging with each other and with the world.  To this end, the 2010 conference will draw together a diverse set of people committed to exploring how we can understand, create, and experiment with the commons beneath the 
university.  Our questions include but are not limited to:
//How do we enact and sustain occupations of the university in the exceptional times and spaces of the everyday?

//How do we generate an international “undercommons,” maintaining – as Stefano Harney and Stevphen Shukaitis have suggested – subversive  positions as actors within, rather than of, the spaces of the university?

//How can unionization projects and occupation struggles learn from and collaborate with one another?

//How do we negotiate the line between stability and revolutionary effectiveness?

//How do we open up sustainable and liveable spaces for radical research, education, and scholarship, without being subsumed by the publish-or-perish disciplinary apparatus?

//How can we collaboratively map and share research, information, tactics, and cultures?

//In recognition that our conditions are a part of a larger set of global occupations and injustices, how do we link with social movements outside of and across the university?

This four-day event will consist of two days of conference sessions bracketed by two days of workshops, writing collaborations, skill shares, and plenty of time for sustained conversations among participants.  We are accepting proposals both for formal papers and for non-conventional forms of participation.

– If you would like to present a paper, please submit an abstract and a CV or brief biographical statement.
– If you would like to participate in another way (by leading a workshop, facilitating a roundtable, presenting media, etc), please submit a brief (1-2 pages) description of the proposed activity and include what kind of resources we would need to provide, along with a CV or brief biographical statement.

All proposals should be addressed to conference@beneaththeu.org, and must be received by January 1, 2010.

Stevphen Shukaitis
Autonomedia Editorial Collective
http://www.autonomedia.org
http://info.interactivist.net

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The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Workplace

Workplace

WORKPLACE: A JOURNAL FOR ACADEMIC LABOR – ISSUE 16

 

The Editors of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor are pleased to announce the release of Workplace #16 on:

“Academic Knowledge, Labor, and Neoliberalism”

Check it out at: http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/issue/current

Table of Contents

Articles

Knowledge Production and the Superexploitation of Contingent Academic Labor – by Bruno Gulli

The Education Agenda is a War Agenda: Connecting Reason to Power and Power to Resistance – by Rich Gibson, E. Wayne Ross
   
The Rise of Venture Philanthropy and the Ongoing Neoliberal Assault on Public Education: The Eli and Edith Broad Foundation – by Kenneth Saltman

Feature Articles

Theses on College and University Administration: A Critical Perspective – by John F. Welsh
   
The Status Degradation Ceremony: The Phenomenology of Social Control in Higher Education – by John F. Welsh

Book Reviews

Review of ‘The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities’ (Desi Bradley)

Authentic Bona fide Democrats Must Go Beyond Liberalism, Capitalism, and Imperialism: A Review of Dewey’s Dream: Universities and  Democracies in an Age of Education Reform (Richard A. Brosio)

Review of Capitalizing on Disaster: Taking and Breaking Public Schools (Prentice Chandler)

Review of Pedagogy and Praxis in the Age of Empire: Towards a New Humanism (Abraham P. Deleon)

Review of Cary Nelson and the Struggle for the University: Poetry, Politics, and the Profession (Leah Schweitzer)

Review of Rhetoric and Resistance in the Corporate Academy (Lisa Tremain)

Read the Workplace Blog: http://blogs.ubc.ca/workplace/
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=24374363807&ref=ts

E. Wayne Ross
Professor
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
University of British Columbia
2125 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
Canada
604-822-2830
wayne.ross@ubc.ca
http://www.ewayneross.net

Critical Education: http://www.criticaleducation.org
Cultural Logic: http://www.eserver.org/clogic
Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor: http://www.workplace-gsc.com

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The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Academic Labor and Law

Special Section of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

 

Guest EditorJennifer Wingard

University of Houston

 

The historical connections between legislation, the courts, and the academy have been complex and multi-layered. This has been evident from early federal economic policies, such as the Morell Act and the GI Bill, through national and state legislation that protected student and faculty rights, such as the First Amendment and affirmative action clauses. These connections continue into our current moment of state and national efforts to define the work of the university, such as The Academic Bill of Rights and court cases regarding distance learning. The question, then, becomes whether and to what extent the impact of legislation and litigation reveals or masks the shifting mission of the academy. Have these shifts been primarily economic, with scarcities of funding leading many to want to legislate what is considered a university education, how it should be financed, and who should benefit from it? Are the shifts primarily ideological, with political interests working to change access, funding, and the intellectual project of higher education? Or are the shifts a combination of both political and economic influences? One thing does become clear from these discussions: at their core, the legal battles surrounding higher education are about the changing nature of the university –the use of managerial/corporate language; the desire to professionalize students rather than liberally educate them; the need to create transparent structures of evaluation for both students and faculty; and the attempt to define the types of knowledge produced and disseminated in the classroom. These are changes for which faculty, students, administrators, as well as citizens who feel they have a stake in higher education, seek legal redress. This special section of Workplace aims to explore the ways in which legislation and court cases impact the work of students, professors, contingent faculty, and graduate students in the university. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

 

Academic Freedom for students and/or faculty

* Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights

* Missouri’s Emily Booker Intellectual Diversity Act

* First Amendment court cases concerning faculty and student’s rights to freely express themselves in the classroom and on campuses

* Facebook/Myspace/Blog court cases

* Current legislative and budgetary “attacks” on area studies (i.e. Queer Studies in Georgia, Women’s Studies in Florida)

Affirmative Action

* The implementation of state and university diversity initiatives in the 1970s

* The current repeal of affirmative action law across the country

* Benefits, including Health Benefits, Domestic Partner Benefits

* How universities in states with same-sex marriage bans deal with domestic partner benefits

Collective Bargaining

* The recent rulings at NYU and Brown about the status of graduate students as employees

* State anti-unionization measures and how they impact contingent faculty

Copyright/Intellectual Property

* In Distance Learning

* In corporate sponsored science research

* In government sponsored research

Disability Rights and Higher Education

* How the ADA impacts the university

* Sexual Harassment and Consensual Relationships

* How diversity laws and sexual harassment policies impact the university

Tenure

* The Bennington Case

* Post 9/11 court cases

 

Contributions for Workplace should be 4000-6000 words in length and should conform to MLA style. If interested, please send an abstract via word attachment to Jennifer Wingard (jwingard@central.uh.edu) by Friday, May 22, 2009. Completed essays will be due via email by Monday, August 24, 2009.

 

E. Wayne Ross

Professor

Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy

University of British Columbia

2125 Main Mall

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

Canada

604-822-2830

wayne.ross@ubc.ca

 

http://www.ewayneross.net

 

Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor: http://www.workplace-gsc.com

Cultural Logic: http://eserver.org/clogic

 

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