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EduFactory

‘TO HAVE THE COURAGE OF UNCERTAINTY’: CULTURES OF PRECARITY

An International Conference

Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, December 6-7, 2012

 

Key note speakers:

Judith Revel

Paolo Virno (tbc)

Giorgio Vasta

Maurizio Lazzerato (tbc)

 

Call for Papers

This international conference is the third and last in a cycle of conferences that started last year in Amsterdam, and continued at Chapel Hill (USA) in May 2012, and is part of the international research project Precarity and Post- autonomia: the Global Heritage, funded by NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) which involves several Dutch universities (Universiteit Leiden/ Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Universiteit Utrecht) in collaboration with two North-American Universities (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. The project aims at stimulating the debate on today’s developments in “autonomist” movements, born mainly from Italy’s workers movements during the Seventies, and to connect these currents with a broader reflection on the topic of precarity within globalized capitalism.

The title of the conference originates in a newspaper article by the young Sicilian writer Giorgio Vasta in which he unpacks the identikit of the new generations. Vasta feels that those born in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, have grown up with the perception of the ‘end of the present’ and of the present as the ‘end’. If this impossibility or incapacity of having a perspective is proper to today’s youth, then this, says Vasta, should become their stronghold: “Because if our connotation is uncertainty – alienation not as an anomaly but as a permanent experience of the real – in that case it becomes fundamental to not turn uncertainty into an alibi but to use it as a tool for knowledge. To have the courage of uncertainty” (La Repubblica, 6-10-2009).

This uncertainty mentioned by Vasta is synonymous with crisis, with a two-faced precarity that therefore becomes ambivalent and that is not longer recomposable into a dialectical object. On the one hand the condition of economic insecurity, caused by the traumatic consequences of so-called labour “flexibility” in globalized capitalism, reduces the subject to a (biopolitical) state of permanent precarity. On the other hand, however, the claim of an identity that is precarious and resistant at the same time, and which is located outside and against the capitalist system, would entail that there still exists a margin from which we can pronounce a cultural critique. If we move our attention towards the ‘creative industries’, these seem to have incorporated precarity as a mode of cultural production. If this is true, the question is to determine the margin of “relative heteronomy” acceptable to survive economically without sacrificing artistic liberty. This could be a way to consider initiatives such as the Coordination des intermittents et précaires d’Ile de France in France and the occupation of the Valle Theatre in Rome, supported by the Generation TQ, the movement of cognitive laborers between thirty-forty (http://www.generazionetq.org/). One may ask what type of autonomy is envisioned by the artists’ resistance against capitalism and if their confinement to an “autonomous” margin could lead, on the contrary, towards the depoliticization of the aesthetic of the avant- gardes? What does marginality mean if we start from a general precarization of public and private space? In the past decade, art institutions and academic contexts have become privileged spaces for conversations concerning both the (partly subversive) knowledge of the precarious, and a search for commons (in order to constitute the political). As for academic contexts, a reference can be made to EduFactory (http://www.edu-factory.org/wp/), a transnational collective that focuses on conflicts and transformation of the university.

Narratives of precarity express two components: that of an inquiry of and a charge against post-Fordist society, and that of the creation of a new kind of precarious ontology. The case-study of Italy seems particularly interesting because it offers the opportunity to analyze the palimpsest both of a history of long duration, transmitted by (post)autonomous workers movements and radical thought in 1970s Italy, and a recent history of social movements that starts from the (tragic) events of the G8 summit at Genoa (2001) – but many other countries and movements must be taken into account, from the first EuroMayDay parade (2001), to the Madrid-based feminist activist group “Precarias a la deriva” (2004), to the transnational indignados movement (2011, Spain) and to the Occupy movement.

The intention of the conference is thus to establish a link between transnational narratives of precarity – narrative in the broad sense of storytelling, including various representational and performative arts in prose and in poetry – and different types of cultural activism. The central question is whether such cultures of resistance, when embedded within art institutions or social movements, do not risk becoming expressions of containment policies, of strategies of ‘governmentality’ (Foucault) that conforms the precarious subject to the cultural logic of capitalism. If the absence of dialectics allows instead for a multidirectional relationship between object and subject, the question is whether this ambivalence of precariousness may become a new way of being that invites an artistic and political revisioning of cultural activism operating at the margins. Therefore the conference also questions whether the ways of creating narratives, and indeed forms of representation of precarity, undergo the same dynamics as the biopolitical subject. Language itself is put into a state of precariousness, and comes to war with itself.

 

Topics include but are not limited to:

            -­‐  Aesthetics of precarity in arts and in social movements

            -­‐  Forms of cultural activism

            -­‐  Cultural “events” of precarity

            -­‐  Precarity and memory

            -­‐  The luxury of precarity? Whose precarity?

            -­‐  The aesthetization of precarity

            -­‐  Precarity and new forms of cultural production (i.e. the ‘creative industries’)

            -­‐  Precarization as constituent power

            -­‐  Precarity and new forms of local, regional or global ethics of ‘relationality’

            -­‐  A ‘geo-aesthetics’ of precarity 

 

The languages of the conference are English, French, and Italian.

Abstracts of about 200 words together with a brief biography should be sent before 09/20/2012 to the following two Email addresses: scontari@u-paris10.fr / M.M.Jansen@uu.nl  

Acceptance of proposals will be communicated by 10/15/2012. 

Scientific Project and Organization: Silvia Contarini (Paris Ouest Nanterre) and Monica Jansen (UtrechtUniversity).

In collaboration with: Luca Marsi and Christophe Mileschi (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre); Judith Revel (Université Paris 1) NWO partners: Vincenzo Binetti (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Joost de Bloois (University of Amsterdam), Silvia Contarini (Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défense), Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden University/Erasmus University Rotterdam), Federico Luisetti (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Monica Jansen (Utrecht University).

Originally published at: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/cfp-to-have-the-courage-of-uncertainty.-cultures-of-precarity-nanterre-6-7-december-2012  

 

**END**

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

 

 

Our Universities

THE UNIVERSITY IS OURS!

Edufactory

The University is Ours!

Friday, December 2, 2011  

A Conference on Struggles Within and Beyond the Neoliberal University
April 27-29, 2012
Toronto, Ontario

The university belongs to us, those who teach, learn, research, council, clean, and create community. Together we can and do make the university work.

But today this university is in crisis. The neoliberal restructuring of post-secondary education seeks to further embed market logic and corporate-style management into the academy, killing consultation, autonomy and collective decision-making. The salaries of university presidents and the ranks of administrators swell, but the people the university is supposed to serve — students — are offered assembly-line education as class sizes grow, faculty is over-worked, and teaching positions become increasingly precarious. International students and scholars seeking post-secondary or graduate education are treated as cash cows rather than as people who might contribute to both research and society. Debt-burdened students are seen as captive markets by administrators, while faculty is encouraged to leverage public funds for private research on behalf of corporate sponsors.

The attack on what remains of public education has been total. Over the last year we have witnessed the closure of humanities programmes, further tuition hikes, the replacement of financial support with loans, union lockouts, and the accelerated development of private, for-profit universities. Yet at the same time we have seen growing waves of struggle against these incursions, as students, staff and faculty in Europe, Latin America, and across the Middle East organize, occupy and resist the transformation.

Our struggles are not limited to the university, but are a part the widespread resistance against the neoliberal market logic subsuming all sectors of our society. The university is a key battleground in this struggle, and a point of conjuncture for the various labour, economic and social justice struggles that face all of us – workers and students alike. Crucially, these struggles occur on stolen indigenous lands and manifest through colonialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, ablism and other forms of oppression that hurt and divide us and that shape what sorts of knowledge are considered valuable.

We cannot cede the ideal of the university as a site for struggle and debate. We cannot permit the dissolution of proliferating research, ideas and innovations free from the demands and control of the market. We cannot watch as universities are degraded into a mere site for corporate or state-sponsored research and marketing. The time to mobilize is now!

This conference will connect and chart the varied struggles against neoliberal restructuring of the university inNorth Americaand beyond. We envision a series of debriefings on experiences of resistance, the creation of a cartography of local and global struggles, and a strategizing session for students, teachers, workers and activists. We aim to develop a North American network of struggles.

We encourage presentations that raise questions and generate dialogue among the rest of the participants. Ideally, submissions will indicate the specific outcomes they hope will emerge from the discussion. We encourage participation from those with first-hand experience of these crises, and those engaged in the fight for free and public post-secondary education, especially student groups and trade unions.

For a better future for all – join us!

POSSIBLE THEMES:

ü        Mapping the terrain of campus struggle inCanadaandNorth America

ü        Connecting with and learning from global struggles

ü        Waged and unwaged labour in the university

ü        Abolition of student debt

ü        The university and the occupy movement

ü        The cultural politics of the neoliberal university

ü        The death of the humanities

ü        Militarization of the university

ü        Intersections of university struggles other fights against oppression

ü        Environmental justice

ü        Beyond public education

ü        Radical pedagogy

ü        Academic freedom

ü        The politics of research funding

ü        The economics of the neoliberal university

ü        University and student governance

ü        The undergraduate experience of neoliberalism

ü        Alternative/free/autonomous universities

ü        Organizing the education factory

ü        The suppression of on-campus dissent and organization

Please email submissions to universityisours@gmail.com by January 16th.

Also,if you would like to attend the conference, please RSVP to the same address so organizers can plan for numbers.

This conference is organized by the Edu-factory Collective in collaboration with theUniversityofToronto General Assembly.

Edufactory: http://www.edu-factory.org/wp/

**END**

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a new song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Cognitive Capitalism

COGNITIVE CAPITALISM, EDUCATION AND DIGITAL LABOR – MICHAEL PETERS & ERGIN BULUT

Michael A. Peters & Ergin Bulut (eds.)
Cognitive Capitalism, Education and Digital Labor 
Year of Publication: 2011 
Peter Lang Publishing Group
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien,
2011. XLII, 341 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-0981-2 pb. 

http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?event=cmp.ccc.seitenstruktur.detailseiten&seitentyp=produkt&pk=54297&concordeid=310981

Contents

Antonio Negri: Foreword 

Michael A. Peters & Ergin Bulut: Introduction 

Timothy Brennan: Intellectual Labor 

George Caffentzis: A Critique of Cognitive Capitalism

Silvia Federici: On Affective Labor 

Christian Fuchs: Cognitive Capitalism or Informational Capitalism? The Role of Class in the Information Economy 

Jonathan Beller: Cognitive Capitalist Pedagogy and Its Discontents 

Ergin Bulut: Creative Economy: Seeds of Social Collaboration or Capital’s Hunt for General Intellect and Imagination? 

Mark Coté / Jennifer Pybus: Learning to Immaterial Labour 2.0: Facebook and Social Networks 

Emma Dowling: Pedagogies of Cognitive Capitalism – Challenging the Critical Subject 

Alex Means: Creativity as an Educational Problematic within the Biopolitical Economy

Toby Miller: For Fun, For Profit, For Empire: The University and Electronic Games 

Michael A. Peters: Algorithmic Capitalism and Educational Futures 

Alberto Toscano: The Limits of Autonomy: Cognitive Capitalism and University Struggles 

Nick Dyer-Witheford: In the Ruined Laboratory of Futuristic Accumulation: Immaterial Labour and the University Crisis 

Tahir Wood: The Confinement of Academic Freedom and Critical Thinking in a Changing Corporate World: South African Universities 

Cameron McCarthy: Afterword. The Unmaking of Education in the Age of Globalization, Neoliberalism and Information

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Michael A. Peters is Professor of Education at the University of Waikato (New Zealand) and Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the executive editor of Educational Philosophy and Theory and editor of two international e-journals, Policy Futures in Education and E-Learning. His interests are in education, philosophy and social policy and he has written over fifty books, including Creativity and the Global Knowledge Economy (Lang, 2009) (with Simon Marginson and Peter Murphy).

Ergin Bulut is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is interested in political economy of labor and its intersection with education, communication and culture. 

Reviews

“Cognitive Capitalism, Education and Digital Labor’ provides us with a series of very thoughtful and provocative analyses of the relationship among political economy, education and new forms of knowledge and labor. It is definitely worth reading and then discussing its implications at length.” (Michael W. Apple, John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison)

“This volume is a ‘tour de force’. Through its chapters, a new space is opened for understanding education in the contemporary world. With an magisterial introduction by its indefatigable editor, Michael A. Peters, and his colleague Ergin Bulut, ‘Cognitive Capitalism, Education and Digital Labor’ implicitly shows the limitations of postmodernism and offers a large conceptual framework that will surely be mined and critically examined for some years to come.” (Ronald Barnett, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, Institute of Education, London)

“‘Cognitive Capitalism, Education and Digital Labor’ is extraordinarily instructive in studying the living bestiary of capitalism, a provocative text that enervates capitalism through helping us cultivate our critical faculties creatively and exultantly in the service of its demise. An important advance in our understanding the production of subjectivity in capitalist societies.” (Peter McLaren, School of Critical Studies in Education, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland)

“This valuable, lithe volume explores the ever-evolving, mutating forms of capitalism. It is a work of craft, intelligence and provocation. It reflects on some of the most important subterranean trends in contemporary societies. These unite the material and the immaterial, biology and power, economics and education. The contributors parse the intersections of intellectual and physical labour, paid and unpaid work, labour and pedagogy, research and gaming, free information and multi-national corporations, autonomy and liberalism, accumulation and enclosure, class and creativity. They do so with verve, steel and tenacious insight.” (Peter Murphy, Professor of Creative Arts and Social Aesthetics, James Cook University)

“If you read just a single book in the field of educational theory this year, make sure it’s this one. Drawing on the rich tradition of Marxist autonomism, the contributors pinpoint what the transmutation of labor and opening of new domains of class struggle under cognitive capitalism mean for education. The editors have assembled an impressive team, all accomplished scholars adept at envisioning changes in the sites and forms of knowledge-making, acquisition and contestation. For anyone interested in the educational implications of technologically-driven shifts in capitalism’s socio-economic structures, this is the volume to buy. Brimming with insight, balanced and lively – it will attract attention from scholars and students well beyond the confines of education faculties.” (James Reveley, Associate Professor, Faculty of Commerce, University of Wollongong)

“We have now for some time been undergoing intense technological and social revolutions that transformed the nature of labor, education and the capitalist economy. Peters and Bulut and their collaborators in ‘Cognitive Capitalism, Education and Digital Labor’ chart out the changes in the new economy and social life and explore its consequences for education. All educators and those concerned with transformations of contemporary culture and society should be concerned with these issues and learn from this book.” (Douglas Kellner, UCLA; Author of ‘Guys and Guns Amok’ and ‘Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy’)

“The mainstream discourse of the knowledge economy is empty. The digital-Taylorist routinisation of much of the work that was once the preserve of knowledge workers and the offshoring of knowledge jobs to countries where skilled labour is much cheaper have given the game away. But it would be wrong to assume that the electronic/IT revolution has not changed our lives and our labour when it clearly has. This outstanding collection raises fundamental questions about knowledge, the role of education and labour in the digital world. It brings current debates to a new level and should be read by students, academics and policy makers across the globe.” (Hugh Lauder, Professor of Education and Political Economy, University of Bath)

“’Cognitive Capitalism, Education and Digital Labor’ presents a new theory of capitalism and digital labor. It is a very valuable resource and will spark an industry of debate and elaboration. This book presents such a wealth of diverse material that any reader will find something new and challenging, and each chapter in this collection makes a welcome contribution to the growing literature in the field.” (George Lazaroiu, Principal Research Fellow, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, New York)

“Cognitive capitalism is a crucial category for conceptualizing the workings of contemporary globalization. Using the theories of the Italian Autonomist Marxist tradition, or ‘operaismo’, Peters and Bulut along with the other authors in this collection present important, fascinating insights into capitalism, education and labor today. It should be read immediately by anyone concerned about how the daily practices of education prepare the multitude for the travails of their immaterial and material labor.” (Timothy W. Luke, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University)

“Peters and Bulut have provided us with a brilliant set of papers that take us to the heart of the political economy. Under ‘cognitive capitalism’ subjectivity is both the realm of freedom and the source of value, raising the stakes in control (governmentality). Hence the continuing fecundity of interpretations at the intersection of Marx/Foucault/Deleuze. We experience both larger productive community and heightened public surveillance, together with unsolvable tensions in education and research. But this book also reminds us that the circuits of cognitive capitalism continue to rest on a mountain of physical commodities, generated largely in the emerging economies and subject to more traditional (and more traditionally Marxist) forms of manufacture, energy consumption and hyper-exploitation of labour.” (Simon Marginson, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne, Australia)

“Education cannot be understood outside of the diverse national and global forces in which it is situated, including the increasing separation of power from local politics. This book brings together a number of first-rate theorists in making clear the relationship among knowledge, power and digital labor. The book is a tour de force for anyone interested in the new registers of power that are now shaping education on a global level. This is an important book and should be put on the class list of every educator who views education central to politics.” (Henry A. Giroux, Global Television Network Chair Professor, English and Cultural Studies Department, McMaster University)

“The exceptional contributions assembled for this timely volume carefully anatomize – and critically question – the category of cognitive capitalism and its composition. This book is a major resource for a generation of academic workers with a very real stake in developments, conflicts and debates surrounding the edu-factory.” (Greig de Peuter, Co-author of  ‘Games of Empire’).

**END**

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a new song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

 

Edu-factory

Edu-factory

TOWARD A GLOBAL AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY

 

Toward a Global Autonomous University: Cognitive Labor, the Production of Knowledge and Exodus from the Education Factory

By: Edu-factory Collective
ISBN 978-1-57027-204-2: price $14.95: 196 pages

What was once the factory is now the university. We started off with this apparently straightforward affirmation, not in order to assume it but to question it; to open it, radically rethinking it, towards theoretical and political research. The Edu-factory project took off from here….Edu-factory is, above all, a partisan standpoint on the crisis of the university…. The state university is in ruins, the mass university is in ruins, and the university as a privileged place of national culture — just like the concept of national culture itself — is in ruins.

We’re not suffering from nostalgia. Quite the contrary, we vindicate the university’s destruction. In fact, the crisis of the university was determined by social movements in the first place. This is what makes us not merely immune to tears for the past but enemies of such a nostalgic disposition.

University corporatization and the rise of a global university…are not unilateral impositions or developments completely contained by capitalist rationality. Rather they are the result — absolutely temporary and thus reversible — of a formidable cycle of struggles. The problem is to transform the field of tension delineated by the processes analyzed in this book into specific forms of resistance and the organization of escape routes.

This is Edu-factory’s starting point and objective, its style and its method.

The Edu-factory Collective: http://www.edu-factory.org/edu15/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Edu-factory

Edu-factory