The University of the Common: Beyond the Contradictions of Higher Education Subsumed under Capital

Chapter

Abstract

Most of the contemporary critical narratives on the crisis of the university have one prevalent feature. They all remain within the conceptual horizon delineated by the liberal philosophy and political economy with their modern binary opposition of the public and the private. Corporatization, commodification, privatization, marketization, and the expansion of academic capitalism within the walls of the university are therefore most often contrasted with the desired strengthening of the public character of the HE institution or its re-publicization. Yet, at the same time, most of the higher education researchers observe that public universities affected by the reforms tailored according to the paradigm of “New Public Management” are increasingly becoming hybrids, and the boundaries between the public and the private are getting completely blurred. Instead of remaining within this theoretical dead end, this chapter takes another route and introduces the common as a concept and as a perspective in higher education research and sees this hybridization as a framework for the organization and management of relations between higher education and capital, corresponding to the needs of the latter’s valorization and accumulation. Four main contradictions of the contemporary higher education subsumed under capital are analyzed and explored here. The chapter does so with the use of general Marxian and Autonomist Marxist theoretical frameworks developed by authors like Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and Gigi Roggero, which have been applied recently to critical higher education research. The contradictions are divided into two main categories: the apparent contradictions (the public vs. the private, academic oligarchy vs. capital) and the real contradictions (corrupted form of the common vs. the common, the common vs. capital). They are discussed respectively with reference to contemporary higher education reality in crisis. The final part of the chapter discusses the alternative, that is the already existing preconditions for establishing a post-capitalist university regulated according to the logic of the common, which is an alternative way of regulation of social relations of production, distribution, exchange and consumption and a different form of wealth which focuses on social needs rather than maximization of profits.

References

  1. Ball, S., & Youdell, D. (2008). Hidden privatisation in public education. Brussels: Education International.Google Scholar
  2. Barnett, R. (2015). In search of a public: Higher education in a Global age. In O. Filippakou & G. Williams (Eds.), Higher education as a public good. Critical perspectives on theory, policy and practice (pp. 15–28). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  3. Berman, E. P. (2012). Creating the market university. How academic science became an economic engine. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Braudel, F. (1982). The wheels of commerce. Volume 2 of civilisation and capitalism 15th-18th century (S. Reynolds, Trans.). Berkeley – Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  5. Breneman, D. W. (2006). The university of phoenix. Icon of for-profit higher education. In D. W. Breneman, B. Pusser, & S. E. Turner (Eds.), Earnings from learning. The rise of for-profit universities (pp. 71–92). New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cantwell, B. (2016). The new prudent man: Financial-academic capitalism and inequality in higher education. In S. Slaughter & B. J. Taylor (Eds.), Higher education, stratification, and workforce development. Competitive advantage in Europe, the US, and Canada (pp. 173–192). Dodrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cantwell, B., & Kauppinen, I. (Eds.). (2014). Academic capitalism in the age of globalization. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Ch., H., & Ostrom, E. (Eds.). (2007). Understanding knowledge as commons: From theory to practice. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Clark, B. R. (1983). The higher education system. Academic organization in cross-national perspective. Berkeley – Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, B. R. (1998). Creating entrepreneurial universities. Organizational pathways of transformation. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  11. Cleaver, H. (1992). Theses on the secular crisis. Retrieved from https://la.utexas.edu/users/hcleaver/secularcrisis.html
  12. Collective, E.-F. (2009). Towards a global autonomous university. New York: Autonomedia.Google Scholar
  13. Collective, E.-F. (2010). Double crisis. Edu-factory, 0: 4–9.Google Scholar
  14. Dardot, P., & Laval, C. (2014). Commun. Essai sur la révolution au XXIe siècle. Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
  15. De Angelis, M. (2007). The beginning of history. Value struggles and global capital. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  16. De Peuter, G., & Dyer-Witheford, N. (2010). Commons and cooperatives. Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action, 4(1): 30–56.Google Scholar
  17. Eve, M. P. (2014). Open access and the humanities. Contexts, controversies and the future. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ferlie, E., Ch., M., & Andresani, G. (2008). The steering of higher education systems. A public management perspective. Higher Education, 56(3): 325–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Haiven, M. (2014). Crisis of imagination, crisis of power. Capitalism, creativity and the commons. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  20. Hall, R. (2014). On the abolition of academic labour: The relationship between intellectual workers and mass intellectuality. Triplec: Communication, Capitalism & Critique, 12(2): 822–837.Google Scholar
  21. Hall, R. (2015). The implications of autonomist Marxism for research and practice in education and technology. Learning, Media and Technology, 40(1): 106–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hallam, R. (2017). Escape from the neo-liberal higher education prison: A proposal for a new digital communist university. In M. Izak, M. Kostera, & M. Zawadzki (Eds.), The Future of University Education (pp. 245–269). Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  23. Hardt, M., & Negri, A. (2009). Commonwealth. Cambridge: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  24. Harvey, D. (2014). Seventeen contradictions and the end of capitalism. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hazelkorn, E. (2011). Rankings and the reshaping of higher education. The battle for world-class excellence. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ilyenkov, E. (1977). Dialectical logic. essays on its history and theory (H. Campbell Creighton, Trans.). London: Progress Publishers.Google Scholar
  27. Izak, M., Kostera, M., & Zawadzki, M. (2017). Introduction. In M. Izak, M. Kostera, & M. Zawadzki (Eds.), The Future of University Education (pp. 1–16). Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  28. Jongbloed, B. (2003). Marketisation in higher education: Clark’s triangle and the essential ingredients of markets. Higher Education Quarterly, 57(2): 110–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jongbloed, B. (2015). Universities as hybrid organizations. Trends, drivers, and challenges for the European University. International Studies of Management & Organization, 45(3): 207–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kwiek, M. (2010). Transformacje uniwersytetu. Zmiany instytucjonalne i ewolucje polityki edukacyjnej w Europie. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza.Google Scholar
  31. Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern (C. Porter, Trans.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Leslie, L., & Slaughter, S. (1998). Academic capitalism. Politics, policies and entrepreneurial university. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Liu, N. C., & Cheng, Y. (2005). The academic ranking of world universities. Higher Education in Europe, 30(2): 127–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marginson, S. (2004). Competition and markets in higher education: A “glonacal” analysis. Policy Futures in Education, 2(2): 175–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Marginson, S. (2006). Putting “public” back into the public university. Thesis Eleven, 84: 44–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Marginson, S. (2007). Five somersaults in Enschade: Rethinking public/private in higher education for the global era. In J. Enders & B. Jongbloed (Eds.), Public-private dynamics in higher education. Expectations, development and outcomes (pp. 187–219). Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.Google Scholar
  37. Marginson, S., & Ordorika, I. (2011). »El central volume de la fuerza«. Global hegemony in higher education and resaerch. In D. Rhoten & C. Calhoun (Eds.), Knowledge matters. The public mission of the research university (pp. 67–129). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Marx, K. (1981). Capital (Vol. 3, B. Fowkes, Trans.). Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  39. McGettigan, A. (2013). The great university gamble. Money, markets and the future of higher education. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  40. Moulier Boutang, Y. (2011). Cognitive capitalism (E. Emery, Trans.). Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  41. Münch, R. (2014). Academic capitalism. Universities in the global struggle for excellence. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  42. Neary, M. (2016). Student as producer: The struggle for the idea of the university. Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives, 5(1): 89–94.Google Scholar
  43. Neave, G. (2012). The evaluative state, institutional autonomy and re-engineering higher education in Western Europe. The prince and his pleasure. Basingstoke: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Negri, A. (2003). Time for revolution (M. Mandarini, Trans.). London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  45. Oliveira, M. B. (2013). On the commodification of science: The programmatic dimension. Science & Education, 22(10): 2463–2483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Peekhaus, W. (2012). The enclosure and alienation of academic publishing: Lessons for the professoriate. Triplec, 10(2): 577–599.Google Scholar
  48. Peters, M. A. (2009). Open education and the open science economy. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 108(2): 203–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Peters, M. A. (2010). The virtues of openness in higher education. Towards an open science economy: Science and knowledge as global public goods. In S. Marginson, P. Murphy, & M. A. Peters, Global creation. Space, mobility and synchrony in the age of the knowledge economy (pp. 249–265). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  50. Peters, M. A. (2011a). The emergence of the global science system and the promise of openness. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(10): 1013–1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Peters, M. A. (2011b). Manifesto for education in the age of cognitive capitalism: Freedom, creativity and culture. Economics, Management, and Financial Markets, 6(1): 389–401.Google Scholar
  52. Roggero, G. (2010). Five theses on the common. Rethinking Marxism, 22(3): 357–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Roggero, G. (2011). The production of living knowledge (E. Brophy, Trans.). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Roggero, R. (2014). The composition of living knowledge: Labor, capture, and revolution. In M. Kozłowski, A. Kurant, J. Sowa, K. Szadkowski, & K. Szreder (Eds.), Joy forever: The political economy of social creativity (pp. 199–210). London: MayFly.Google Scholar
  55. Schrecker, E. (2010). The lost soul of higher education. Corporatization, the assault on academic freedom, and the end of the American University. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  56. Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (2004). Academic capitalism in the new economy. challenges and choices. American Academic, 1(1): 37–59.Google Scholar
  57. Śpiewak, P. (1998). W stronę dobra wspólnego. Warszawa: Aletheia.Google Scholar
  58. Stiglitz, J. (1999). Knowledge as a global public good. In I. Kaul, I. Grunberg, & M. Stern (Eds.), Global public goods: International cooperation in the 21st century (pp. 308–325). New York - Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Szadkowski, K. (2015). Uniwersytet jako dobro wspólne. Podstawy krytycznych badań nad szkolnictwem wyższym. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.Google Scholar
  60. Szadkowski, K. (2016). Towards an orthodox Marxian reading of subsumption(s) of academic labour under capital. Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, 28: 9–29.Google Scholar
  61. Vercellone, C. (2010). The crisis of the law of value and the becoming-rent of profit (J. F. McGimsey, Trans.). In A. Fumagalli & S. Mezzadra (Eds.), Crisis in the global economy: Financial markets, social struggles and the new political scenarios (pp. 85–118). Los Angeles: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  62. Vercellone, C. (2015). From the crisis to the “welfare of the common” as a new mode of production. Theory, Culture & Society, 32(7–8): 85–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Winn, J. (2015). The co-operative university: Labour, property and pedagogy. Power & Education, 7(1): 39–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Public Policy StudiesAdam Mickiewicz UniversityPoznańPoland

Personalised recommendations