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Tag Archives: Govermentality

Teaching Marx

Teaching Marx


Conference at the London School of Economics and Political Science

June 25-26, 2014

June 25, 2014 is the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Michel Foucault. Governing Academic Life marks this anniversary by providing an occasion for academics to reflect on our present situation through our reflections on Foucault’s legacy. The focus of the conference, therefore, will be on the form of governmentality that now constitutes our identities and regulates our practices as researchers and teachers. However the event will also create a space for encounters between governmentality scholars and critics of the neoliberal academy whose critiques have different intellectual roots – especially Frankfurt school critical theory, critical political economy, feminism, Bourdieuian analyses of habitus, capital and field, and autonomist Marxism.

Proposals for papers and panels are welcome until March 15, 2014. Please refer to the guidelines below.

Background and Context:

The impetus for this event is the set of changes currently sweeping across UK higher education, which include cuts in direct public funding, new financing arrangements that are calculated to bring private equity into the sector and foster competition between providers, the likely emergence of new corporate structures for HEI’s which will open the sector to commercial providers, the separation of elite from mass higher education and the globalization of ‘trade’ in HE services; but also (and relatedly) the continuing development of instruments for rendering student-teacher interactions visible and comparable, and for calculating and governing the impact, influence and value of academic research.

Governmentality research is featuring strongly in the debates around some of this. Yet though largely ‘diagnostic’ in nature, it is increasingly being enlisted as groundwork for the radical critiques and alternatives offered by autonomist Marxist theorists of cognitive capitalism and immaterial labour. Meanwhile, critical theorists who idealise a public sphere of rational-critical debate (with ‘the idea of the university’ at its heart) are struggling to re-define what makes the university (a) public and to re-think the terms of its engagement with the wider economy and society in less radical ways – often without problematising the forms of (Foucaultian) government, or of complicity with capitalism’s logic of accumulation, that are necessarily involved with these reconstructions.  This conference aims to bring together leading contemporary scholars and activists who draw on one or more of these traditions for a series of mutually challenging discussions.

In general, the conference will be oriented by the concern to think critically about the conditions of possibility of the academy today – where ‘conditions of possibility’ could mean governmental assemblages of one kind or another, capitalist production relations, the forces defining how different capitals (economic, social, cultural, symbolic) register within the academic field, or quasi-transcendental presuppositions of rational communication. Participants will ideally aim to explore how we might think across these usually distinct ways of both conceiving what the university is and contesting what it has become.

Specific foci of debate may include:

* The idea of the university: ruined or redeemable? Social criticism in the age of the normalized academic

* Beyond public v. private? Dimensions of corporatisation

* The role(s) of (contract, competition, corporate, intellectual property) law in constructing the market university

* The government of academic freedom: constituting competition as a way of life

* Markets, measurement and managerialism: rankings and ratings, rights and royalties, accounting and audit, metrics … and alternative metrics?

* Academic career-ism and casualization; discipline and de-professionalisation

* The conditions for the persistence in the university sector of relations of domination organised in particular around gender and ethnicity

* Critical political economy and varieties of communicative capitalism

* Entrepreneurial universities and enterprising academic subjects: personal branding as ‘technology of the self’?

* What is an author, now? The future of academic authorship and the academic book

* The potentials and pitfalls of ‘openness’ and ‘commons-ism’ in scholarly communication

* The ‘technicity’ of academic forms of life: the potentials and pathologies of living with/in digitised work environments

* The student as consumer – or as producer?

* The rise of para-academic ‘outstitutions’ beyond the university’s (pay)walls

* Other strategies for resisting the neoliberal academy

* Envisioning and enacting alternative futures for the university 

Additional ideas for panels and themes are welcome.

Proposal submission procedure:

Proposals should be submitted as e-mail attachments to or, or in hard copy form by mail to one of the conference coordinators (addresses below). The deadline for receipt of proposals is March 15, 2014.

 Proposals for papers must include the working title of the proposed paper (which should be suitable for presentation in 20 minutes) together with the author’s name, affiliation, full contact information (including address, phone, fax and email), and a brief (500 words maximum) abstract or outline. Submissions are welcome from graduate students as well as from more established scholars.

Proposals for panels (of up to 4 speakers) must include the information indicated above for all papers that are expected to be part of the panel, together with an overview of the panel theme (max 300 words) and an indication of each proposed panellist’s willingness to participate.

Timetable:  Proposals will be reviewed by the conference co-ordinators, and notice of acceptance will be given by April 15 2014.

Registration: A registration fee of £100 will be payable to cover costs. A limited number of places will be available at a concessionary rate for graduate students, adjuncts and scholars without an institutional affiliation. Please indicate if you wish to be considered for one of these places when sending your proposal.


‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

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Education Crisis

Education Crisis

Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault


Seminar 4

Workshop organised with the support of the Department of Politics, Goldsmiths University of London and mf / Materiali Foucaultiani


Saul Newman (GoldsmithsUniversity of London) 

‘”Critique as the art of voluntary inservitude”: Foucault, La Boetie and the problem of freedom’

January 24th, 5-7pm, Richard Hoggart Building (RHB) 355
Goldsmiths College, University of London

New Cross, London, SE14 6NW    



Yari Lanci: 

Martina Tazzioli: 


Next events: 
Mark Neocleous – February 6th – “War, Police, or War-Police? Foucault and the Drones”

Orazio Irrera – February 20th

Judith Revel – February 28th – “The History of Our Present”

Sophie Fuggle – March 6th 

Silvia Chiletti – March 13th

Tiziana Terranova – March 19th

Michael Dillon, March 26th, 4-6pm – “Foucault: Political Spirituality and the Courage of Truth”.

Description: “What is this present which I belong to?”. This was the question asked by Foucault recalling Kant’s writing on the Enlightenment. This is also the interrogation that a Foucaultian gaze on the present specific context/spaces should pose again. In Foucault’s view, the practice of a history of our present is primarily conceived as a critical attitude towards the configuration of power relations given at a certain time, that is as an effective challenge of  the ways in which our lives are governed. Then, the history of the present and the critique are (in turn) grounded on a genealogical posture, aiming at making all evidence unacceptable. In this way, as Foucault remarked in 1978, the critique can be conceived as “the art of the voluntary disobedience, of the reasoned indocility. Therefore, the function of the critique would be the disassujettissement in the play of what could be named a politics of truth”.

Related to the couple critique-history of our present a broad Foucaultian vocabulary has emerged: governmentality, counter-conduct, and biopolitics are only some of the Foucaultian notions closely linked to the question of our present and to the will of “not to be governed in such a way”.

The aim of this seminar will be to trace out and to “update” this range of notions, reworking them in the light of postcolonial challenges, new practices of struggle and political technologies. Thus, the aim is neither to test the viability of the Foucaultian grid in our present, nor to undertake a philological route exploring Foucault’s concepts, but rather to put these notions at work in present and heterogeneous contexts. Secondly, it’s through the twofold axis of space and knowledge that we will try to highlight the spaces for critique that a Foucaultian vantage point could open and make visible today. However, in the place of a coherent Foucaultian grid/approach to take on, we also claim the ‘right’ to a partial and instrumental use of Foucault’s tool-box: consequently, the very concept of “use” needs to be rethought not in terms of an application of methods and concepts to our diagram of analysis but instead as a way of ‘playing with’ some of Foucault’s perspectives, also pushing them up to their geographical/historical/political limits and making them resound in different spaces.

Related to that, it’s the very meaning of critique which should be reframed: what does it signify today to put into practice an effective critique of the regime of knowledge and truth which shapes our conducts? If according to Foucault the first step consists in “making visible what is visible”, now perhaps we should ask whether this is enough or if the task of the critique becomes most of all the capacity to spur us to act, shaking what is given as unquestionable evidences.

Among the notions that we will tackle: Counter-conduct, Critique, Government and Governmentality, History of the present, Regime of truth, Subjectivation.


First published:




Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales); and at (new remix, and new video, 2012)  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

Rikowski Point:


Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at:

MySpace Profile:

Online Publications at:

World Crisis




The second Critical Governance Conference will be held at the University of Warwick, Monday 10th – Wednesday 12th December 2012. Individual abstract submissions of up to 500 words are welcome from now until 30th November. Please detail your name, institution, paper title, panel (if any) and proposal, and email it to

Proposals for panels and streams are also welcome. Panel proposals should explain the rationale and the abstract for each contributing paper. Stream proposals should explain the overarching rationale, key themes, how many panels there might be and how they will be organized. We have had three proposals for streams so far, but welcome further suggestions and volunteers to coordinate them. If you wish to participate in one of these streams, please mark this clearly on your abstract:

* Governance futures in and beyond capitalism

* In and against the state’ once more? Towards critical governance practices

* The governance of science and sustainability

Conference registration is open at

The price is £250 for three days. Bed and Breakfast will be available at a rate of either £50 or £77 per night (depending on your venue preference) and dinners can be booked for £27 per night.

If you have any queries, please email Dr Penny Tuck at

First published at:




‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski:


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

MySpace Profile:

Rikowski Point:


Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at:

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Blog:

Online Publications at: