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Glenn Rikowski

Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies – Volume 15 Number 3, December 2017


This is the latest issue of Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies. It includes my article Privatisation in Education and Commodity Forms.





Volume 15 Number 3 – December 2017


Ravi Kumar
Consensualised Reproduction and Fascisation of Society: Critical Pedagogy in Times of Despair


Glenn Rikowski
Privatisation in Education and Commodity Forms


Mike Cole
‘A bright future’ for ‘something new and highly significant’ or a bit of a damp squib?: (neo-) Marxist reflections on recent theoretical developments in ‘BritCrit’ in the journal Race, Ethnicity and Education


Oskar Szwabowski
Paulina Wężniejewska

An (co)autoethnography story about going against the neoliberal didactic machine


Sezen Bayhan
Ayşe Caner 

Schools in the Nexus of Neoliberal Urban Transformation and Education Policy Change


Chris Holligan
Corporate Schooling and Decorative Metrics: The Iconography of Academy School Chains in England


Dhammika Jayawardena 
The “MacBurger”, Non-State Universities and the Changing Landscape of Higher Education in Sri Lanka


Steve Hanson
Language, juridical epistemologies and power in the new UK university: Can alternative providers escape?


Cecilia Rikap 
The Differentiated Market-University: is commodification equally affecting all universities?


Joseph Cunningham
Rhetorical Tension in the Bureaucratic University


Fernando Murillo
Ideology, Curriculum & The Self: The psychic rootedness of ideology and resistance in subjectivity


Carl Parsons
Kaia-Marie A. Bishop

Book Review: Mike Cole (2016)Racism: a Critical Analysis. London: Pluto Press.



Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies:



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Dave Hill




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



International Centre for Public Pedagogies (ICPuP)

International Seminar for Public Pedagogies


Stratford Campus

Water Lane


E15 4LZ


21st February 2018

5.00 – 6.00pm

Room: 4.02



There are two parts to the presentation. Following a brief examination of the concept of ‘crisis’ the first part provides a critique of the Classical Theory of education crisis. This is the default theory of education crisis utilised by the majority of educational theorists and education activists today. Its starting point is that education crises are basically derivative of economic crises. The works of Marxists Brian Simon and Madan Sarup are important in fixing and consolidating the Classical Theory of education crisis. These will be explored in some depth.

The second part of the paper is more speculative. It seeks to pinpoint education crises as crises for capital. Thus, it is concerned with working on the weaknesses in the rule of capital (in education and in terms of its development) rather than focusing on how crises originating in the economy have deleterious effects for state-financed, public education. Two forms of education crises for capital are located, based on the mode of existence of commodity forms in educational institutions: crises of labour-power production; and crises in the ‘general class’ of commodities in educational settings. The implications for an anti-capitalist, anti-affirmationist politics of education based on this analysis are provided in conclusion.


Note: Two papers will be produced for this seminar: Critique of the Classical Theory of Education Crisis, and Education Crises As Crises for Capital. In the meantime, the following paper is useful: Crises, Commodities and Education: Disruptions, Eruptions, Interruptions and Ruptions, which is available at Academia:


ADDENDUM – 22nd January 2018

The two papers for this ICPuP Seminar are now online at Academia:

Critique of the Classical Theory of Education Crisis

Education Crises As Crises For Capital



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Ruth Rikowski Framlingham Castle

Ruth Rikowski
Framlingham Castle


The presentation slides for Ruth Rikowski’s talk at The Froud Centre, Manor Park, London, on 10th June 2016 –are now available at Academia.

Why Library Is Not  A Dirty Word: Reclaiming Its Power And Possibility

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Glenn Rikowski

In addition, Glenn Rikowski also has a new post at Academia: The Woodhead Federation? The Business Takeover of Schools in England

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Dr. Glenn Rikowski

Dr. Glenn Rikowski




Friday, 10th June, @ 19:00 – 20.30 (BST)

A talk and discussion about library campaigns, radical librarianship and re-imagining the library as a public space


Why Library Is Not A Dirty Word


There have been some changes to the venue and programme: though the day (Friday 10th June) and time (7.00 – 8.30pm) are still the same.

Apologies for the short notice


New Venue:


The Coffee Bar

1 Toronto Avenue

Manor Park


E12 5JF

(In fact, only 3 minutes’ walk from the original venue, the Rabbits Road Institute. Just walk along the Romford Road towards Ilford, and The Froud Centre is easily recognisable: it’s on the corner between Toronto Avenue and Romford Road)


New Programme:

Speaker: Ruth Rikowski – writer, lecturer at London South Bank University, libraries professional and campaigner, author of Globalisation, Information and Libraries: The Implications of the World Trade Organisation’s GATS and TRIPS Agreements (Chandos Publishing), and a freelance editor for Chandos Publishing.


Followed by Discussion


Free Admission

No Registration Necessary

Soft drinks provided


Blog Version:


Best wishes


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PsychoPolitics in the Twenty First Century

Please see below for call for papers for a conference at in Liverpool on Wednesday 10th June 2015 organised in conjunction with the British Sociological Association Sociology of Mental Health Study Group. The conference title is PsychoPolitics in the Twenty First Century: Peter Sedgwick and radical movements in mental health

Background to the conference:

The work of Peter Sedgwick and in particular his classic text PsychoPolitics (1982) has a renewed relevance in the context of ‘austerity’, the privatisation of welfare provision and emergent forms of radical activism in mental health. This conference will provide an opportunity to explore Sedgwick’s ideas and assess his legacy in light of these contemporary developments.

The organisers welcome proposals for papers/workshops from academics, service users /survivors and mental health practitioners on the following topics (though this is not an exhaustive list):

  • The politics of mental health
  • Social movements in mental health; social movements and sociological knowledge on mental health
  • Alliances between service user/survivor movements and trade unions/anti-austerity campaigns
  • Alliances between disabled people’s and mental health service user/survivor movements
  • Mental health practice and resistance under neoliberalism
  • Contemporary applications of Sedgwick’s ideas
  • Links between mad studies, disability studies and the work of Sedgwick

The conference webpages are at The email for mailing list and further info is:

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The Black Rock

The Black Rock


Krisis: Journal of Contemporary Philosophy

**Call for Papers: Extended Deadline**

Krisis presents a special issue in December 2014 on Pirates and Privateers. Contributions may be up to 7000 words (including references). If you would like to contribute, please send us a proposal of about 500 words. Abstracts are due 29 June 2014, and will be send to We will notify you before 1 July about acceptance of your proposal. The deadline for final contributions is 15 September.


Pirates & Privateers

When the King asked him what he meant by infesting the sea, the pirate defiantly replied: ‘The same as you do when you infest the whole world; but because I do it with a little ship I am called a robber, and because you do it with a great fleet, you are an emperor’ (St. Augustine)

We see these government agencies as among the most skilled players in this game (Eric Grosse, Google VP of security engineering)

The idea that in an ever globalising world the sovereignty and centrality of the nation state is declining is so well established that it has become a truism. Yet state agencies such as the NSA are in the process of reestablishing their grip on today’s network societies. So perhaps the proclaiming of the end of the state (not in terms of its national scope but as to the essence of its function) was premature. This raises the following questions: What is or will be the role of the state-function (national or international) in this globalised social-economic landscape? Will it be able to secure its de jure and de facto sovereignty by enforcing the distinction between pirates and privateers through law, i.e. by authorising neoliberal but restricting alternative appropriations of the commons? And is this state power a necessary condition for, or instead a limit to, the implementation of neoliberal principles? These questions are important because the distinction between pirate and privateer has substantial practical consequences in terms of the distribution of power.

Neoliberal privatisation – e.g. the exodus of financial capital from the welfare state system – is sanctioned by state. It is in the process of realising its particular solutions to the crises of the nation state, creating the conditions of its own legitimacy, in the form of gated communities, tax havens and special economic zones protected by private security firms. Seemingly bypassing state sovereignty, whilst simultaneously sanctioned by it, they are contemporary privateers.

Is this type of privatisation the destiny of this historical junction or are there alternatives? The institutionalised left does not seem to think so as it continues to defend the welfare system as a place of last resort against the powers of neoliberal globalisation. However, in the margins of the neoliberal project various different solutions are being experimented with. Insofar as these are not sanctioned by state, these are today’s pirates. Think of: torrent sites (The Pirate Bay comes to mind), hacker communities tied to international criminal syndicates, new local and digital currencies (Bristol Pound, Bitcoin, Litecoin), new forms of digital activism (Anonymous), counter-banking (OccupyBank, Timebank), anonymising networks (TOR’s Hidden Wiki and Silk Road), freestates and micronations (Principality of Sealand), eco-communities or hacker colonies ( and alternative internets (GNUnet).

How can or should we think about and critically evaluate the distinction between privateers and pirates in political-philosophical terms? What is the utility, in this particular context, of the conceptual and normative schemas still operative in political philosophy today? If not a return to a Hobbesian state of nature, yet also short of being a Commonwealth; if not the emergence of a post-state, anarchist or libertarian utopia, nor a technologically updated 1984 in which the state function has become absolute; how to understand and conceptualise the ambiguous in-between?

Krisis welcomes interdisciplinary answers to such questions, and encourages approaches that engage political-philosophical reflections on issues of state sovereignty, law and justice, to the above mentioned case-studies (or others). We also invite speculative approaches to future scenarios: will the conflict between neoliberal and ‘alternative’ solutions take place in ever more deterritorialised, technocratic networks beyond state control? Will we witness the proliferation of large self-regulative parallel systems, of password-protected enclaves, local communication ecologies and gated communities? Will the state be reduced to ‘one of the players in this game’, or will strategic shifts in its constitution as an apparatus in conjunction with neoliberalism secure its function as a sovereign mediator?


The first issue of Krisis in 2014 is online, and we start off with a wide variety of articles, essays, letters and reviews. What does it mean that gender and race are socially constructed? And how are we to understand the reality of the social relations of oppression with which sexism and racism go hand in hand? In a dossier on Sally Haslanger’s important book Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique (2012) these and other related questions are discussed in the form of three critical commentaries by Titus Stahl, Arianna Betti and Mari Mikkola and an extensive reply by Haslanger herself.

In addition, this issue contains articles on the relation between science, politics and society by Huub Dijstelbloem, and on the possibilities and meanings of emancipation in Jacques Rancière’s political thought by Ruth Sonderegger. An essay by Daniël de Zeeuw looks back at the political theory and strategy of Occupy, and Jan-Willem Duyvendak and Merijn Oudenampsen enter into a discussion about the sociological significance of recent political and cultural changes in the Netherlands.

Last but not least, the book reviews of this issue cover recent publications on climate skepticism (in the review essay by Chunglin Kwa), migration (Rogier van Reekum discusses Mezzadra & Neilson’s Border as Method, 2013) Rancière’s aesthetics (Aukje van Rooden reviews his latest publication Aisthesis. Scenes from the aesthetic regime of art, 2013), and the practical role of standards (a review of Laurence Bush’ Standards. Recipes for reality, 2011, by Koen Beumer).

In order to keep the reading of this journal free of charge, we would appreciate your support.


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4 – 6 September 2014

University of Sussex


Call for Papers

By ‘Power, Capital, Chaos’, we refer to a context of ongoing global economic crisis, the neo-liberal destruction of social democracy and the ever-widening entrenchment of inequalities of wealth, power and technology within and between a global ‘North’ and global ‘South’. A contemporary political situation marked by austerity and privatisation, by security and responsibility, by racist political reaction, class-war and gender-domination.

Yet, this is also a situation marked by manifold acts of protest, struggle, occupation, riot and revolution. All of which demand the reimaging of social, political, juridical and material life. These are modes of resistance that call-out disparate and conflicting visions of the ‘public good’, ‘human dignity’ and ‘justice’. Equally these involve legal and political claims to know-ledge which exist within and contend with a late-modern context of endless critique, scepticism and disagreement. As such, the contemporary theorisation of ‘power’ and ‘capital’ involves critical thought’s confrontation with a certain ‘chaos’ of reason and unreason.

Conference participants are asked to consider how we might attempt to understand, explain and respond to a chaotic contemporary political situation? You are invited to do so on the lovely campus of the University of Sussex set in the chalky South Downs of South-East England. In this respect, one context of the CLC 2014 is the city of Brighton and Hove, which carries on a long tradition of pleasure and distraction. In another, the context is the University of Sussex which holds onto both a radical intellectual tradition and a tradition of radical student protest.

We ask you to make your own interpretation of the theme ‘Power, Capital, Chaos’, and invite scholars from a range of disciplines to propose papers. Traditionally the Critical Legal Conference is a friendly and interdisciplinary conference bringing together scholars from a wide body of disciplines.

Proposals should consist of a short abstract (max. 250 words).

Deadline for Paper Proposals: 30 June, 2014


Plenary Speakers

•          Mark Devenney (University of Brighton)

•          Maria Drakpoulou (University of Kent)

•          Denise Ferreira da Silva (Queen Mary)

•          Mark Neocleous (Brunel University)

•          Louiza Odysseos (University of Sussex)

•          Nina Power (University of Roehampton)


Conference Streams

•          Beyond the Law: State of Exception and the Powers of Capital

•          Chaotic Property

•          Commodification, Global Capitalism, and Liberal Democracy

•          Critiquing Crime

•          Defend, Occupy or Shut Down? Capital and Chaos in Neoliberal Higher Education

•          Dispossessing the Dispossessed: Legally Sanctified Market Violence

•          Equity in Crisis

•          Identifying the Global South: Law, Power, Subjectivity and Liberation

•          Identity Politics and Human Rights

•          Ideology, Hegemony and Law: An East/West Perspective

•          Law-Capital-Pacification

•          Law’s Humanitarian Sentiments

•          Law and Neo-Liberalism

•          The Law and the Promise of a New World

•          Political Struggle and Performative Rights

•          Rationalities of Legal Decision-Making

•          Spatial Justice and Diaspora: Law, Chaos, and Postcoloniality

•          State in situ? Rethinking the Trial

•          The Symbolic Force of Law and Feminism: A Decolonial Perspective

•          Thinking Resistance Beyond Power, Violence and … Law?

•          General Stream: Power, Capital, Chaos



The CLC 2014 is hosted by the Sussex Law School, and by the School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.

For paper proposals and general information please contact: Kimberley Brayson or Tarik Kochi:


Conference Fees, including conference dinner, drinks reception, lunch and refreshments

Early-Bird Registration (by 31 July 2014): £180

Late Registration: £200

Reduced Rate (postgraduate): £100

Reduced Rate (postgraduate — Excluding Conference Dinner): £70


Further info:



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Education System

Education System


Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)

Capitalist Markets in Higher Education: Utopias or Possibilities

Date – Wednesday, 16 April 2014: 14.00-16.00

Venue – University of Bath, Bath, UK

Network – South West Regional Network


Speaker: Professor Simon Marginson, Institute of Education

For more than two decades, governments around the world, led by the English-speaking polities, have moved higher education systems closer to the forms of textbook economic markets. Reforms include corporatisation, competitive funding, student charges, output formats and performance reporting. But, no country has established a bona fide economic market in the first-degree education of domestic students. No research university is driven by shareholders, profit, market share, allocative efficiency or the commodity form. There is commercial tuition only in parts of vocational training and international education. At the most, there are regulated quasi-markets, as in post-Browne UK. This differs from the experience of privatisation and commercialisation of transport, communications broadcasting and health insurance in many nations. The article argues that bona fide market reform in higher education is constrained by intrinsic limits specific to the sector (public goods, status competition), and political factors associated with those limits. This suggests that market reform is utopian, and the abstract ideal is sustained for exogenous policy reasons (e.g. fiscal reduction, state control, ordering of contents). But, if capitalist markets are clearly unachievable, a more authentic modernisation agenda is needed.


Simon worked as a Professor of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne in Australia prior to starting at the Institute of Education in October 2013. His research and scholarship draw broadly on the social sciences and political philosophy, and are focused primarily on higher education policy, systems and institutions. Most of his projects are in comparative and international higher education. In the last decade he has conducted extended inquiries into higher education and globalization, and higher education and research in East Asia. His current research includes a comparative project on the role of higher education in constructing public good, which examines the intersection between on one hand state traditions and political cultures, on the other hand educational practices. In 2014 Simon will deliver the biannual Clark Kerr lectures on higher education in the University of California system. He is Joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Higher Education.

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Education is Not for Sale

Education is Not for Sale




The Media and the Neoliberal Privatization of Education

 Series editors: Derek R. Ford (Syracuse University), Brad Porfilio (Lewis University), Rebecca A. Goldstein (Montclaire State University)

Abstracts due: December 31,2013

Manuscripts due: May 1,2014

As the neoliberal agenda for public education in North America intensifies, educational literature has increasingly turned its attention toward understanding the logics and processes of neoliberal privatization. Additionally, attention has been paid as to how educators resist these processes and practices, both in the classroom and beyond. This special issue seeks to deepen our understanding of the neoliberal privatization of education by extending critical examinations to an under-represented field of cultural production: that of mainstream media reporting on education and the neoliberal privatization of education, which many believe represents a new round of primitive accumulation. By examining and analyzing the mainstream media’s relationship to the processes in which neoliberal education ideologies are constructed, reflected, and reified, articles in this issue will explicate the various ways in which the mainstream media has helped facilitate and legitimate neoliberalism as universal logic in reforming education, both locally and globally. Articles will also speak to how critical educations have guided students in K-20 schools to understand the mainstream media’s relationship to supporting the neoliberal takeover of schools.

We welcome conceptual, empirical, theoretical, pedagogical and narrative articles that approach this topic from a variety of perspectives and frameworks. Articles included in the special issue may ask and examine questions such as, but not limited to:

* How has media coverage of teachers’ unions and teachers’ strikes reinforced and/or advanced privatization?

* What shift has taken place in terms of who is positioned in the media as educational “experts”?

* What are the differences between the way that various major news networks, newspapers, and news magazines talk about educational privatization?

* How are Teach For America and Teach For All being propelled by media coverage?

* What are the variations in media coverage of the neoliberal agenda for education?

* What are the alternatives and prospects for challenges to the mainstream media?

* How has ALEC impacted school reform policies and practices on the state level and to what extent has the media covered it?

* How have critical educators positioned their students to understand the mainstream media’s role in supporting the corporate agenda for schooling?

Critical Education is an international peer-reviewed journal, which seeks manuscripts that critically examine contemporary education contexts and practices. Critical Education is interested in theoretical and empirical research as well as articles that advance educational practices that challenge the existing state of affairs in society, schools, and informal education.

An early expression of interest and a 250-500 word abstract is preferred by December 31, 2013. Please address correspondence to and include “Critical Education” in the subject line.

For details on manuscript submission, please visit:



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Medical Sociology

Medical Sociology


British Sociological Association



Call for Papers

Wednesday 11th – Friday 13th September 2013

University of York


We look forward to welcoming you to our 45th Annual Conference.

We are pleased to announce Professor Catherine Pope University of Southampton, Professor Sarah Cunningham – Burley, University of Edinburgh have agreed to be our plenary speakers at the 2013 conference.


Papers, posters and other forms of presentation will be structured around streams that include:

1.                 Cancer

2.                 Citizenship and health

3.                 Complementary and alternative medicines

4.                 Critical public health

5.                 Embodiment and emotion

6.                 Ethics

7.                 Ethnicity

8.                 Experiences of health and illness

9.                 Evidence

10.               Gender

11.               Health policy

12.               Health service delivery

13.               Health care organisation

14.               Individual, Collective and Global Risk

15.               Inequalities

16.               Lifecourse – reproductive health; chronic conditions; ageing; death and dying

17.               Mental Health

18.               Methods

19.               Open

20.               Patient – professional interaction

21.               Pharmaceuticals

22.               Politics of health

23.               Professions

24.               Risk

25.               Screening and diagnosis

26.               STS and medicine

27.               Theory

28.               Teaching Medical Sociology


We welcome abstract submissions for oral presentations, poster presentations and symposia/special events

Further details and abstract submission forms are available from: and

The abstract submission deadline is 26th April 2013.

Abstracts received after this date will not be considered.




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Education Crisis

Education Crisis


Call for Papers

This is a stream of the London Conference in Critical Thought 2013

For full details on the conference, see:

Stream organiser: Joyce Canaan


Numerous critical authors have recently observed that higher education is: in ‘crisis’ (Thorpe 2008); under ‘assault’ (Bailey and Freedman 2011); at its ‘end’ (Vernon 2010) or ‘in ruins’ (Readings 1996). These observations capture critical academics’ efforts to evaluate how processes of privatisation, marketisation and financialisation have impacted northern and southern university systems during the past 40 years and have led to a nearly ‘complete subordination of intellectual life to instrumental values and, most brutally, to the measure of money’ (Thorpe 2008).

Recent resistance to government policies on university has taken two forms: student-led demonstrations, occupations and actions and the emergence of ‘free’ or ‘alternative’ universities. This stream seeks to explore the latter, less explored alternatives, guided by Brown’s (2005:5) observation that the concept of critique comes from the Greek word ‘krisis’, used to explain the processes of ‘judging and rectifying an alleged disorder in or of the democracy’. The contemporary meaning of critique as ‘temporal rupture and repair’ (2005:7) contains elements of this earlier meaning; it entails and presumes a certain urgency to reconsider and rebuild, or to create an alternative to, that which has been torn asunder. Critique might also benefit from insights from historical materialism. Brown (2005:13), building on Benjamin, notes that the historical materialist reroutes ‘by rethinking the work of history in the present, stilling time to open time’. Stilling the seeming inevitability of the trajectory from past to present opens up the present and past to: ‘act[s] of reclamation’, re-viewing and thereby potentially reworking for a more emancipatory future.

Papers for this stream are thus asked to explore how emergent alternative universities today can be seen to operate as acts of reclamation—and might do so more effectively in future. Questions for consideration include:

  • What perceived limits of the public university impel a group to build an alternative?
  • Which theoretical and activist traditions inform their project?
  • What vision(s) of critical theory and/or historical materialism guide them?
  • What understandings of critical education shape their efforts to overcome/avoid perceived limits to the public university?
  • What theories of radical pedagogy inform their practices?
  • To what degree do insights from social movement theories and practices inform their theories / practices? And, in addition, contribute to the social movement literature?
  • What kinds of spaces do they seek to meet, teach and act in? Why?
  • How do they negotiate problems? What theories and practices inform these negotiations?
  • What are their strategies for reaching others as teaching and/or researching partners and how effective are they?
  • How central is praxis to their project?

Please send abstracts for 20-minute papers to with the subject as: ‘Higher Education Submission’.



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A paper on the crisis in higher education, by Glenn Rikowski:

Rikowski, G. (2012) Life in the Higher Sausage Factory, Guest Lecture to the Teacher Education Research Group, The Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London, 22nd March, online at:

For more on this paper, see:

Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory

Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory





Education for Sale?

Education for Sale?


A debate on the privatisation of education


University of East London

Cass School of Education & Communities

Stratford Campus

Wednesday February 13th

The Panellists:

Dr. Glenn Rikowski (University of Northampton)

Professor John Schostak (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Professor James Tooley (University of Newcastle)

Dr. Patricia Walker (University of East London, and Labour councillor for Acton)

Chair: Claire Fox – Director, Institute of Ideas:

Tea & Coffee: 3.30-4.00

The Debate: 4.00-5.00

Wine reception: 5.00-6.00

All welcome

Please circulate



Report on the Debate in the Times Higher Education:


Education for Sale?

Education for Sale?


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