22 SES 14 A, The University in the Age of Critique (Part 2)
Symposium continued from 22 SES 13 A
The purpose of this paper is to outline the practical-theoretical foundations of the emerging stream of higher education research, that is critical higher education research. Critique is considered here as the fundamental part of any project of the common, a simultaneous practice of decomposition and recomposition. The main focus will be placed on the three general elements necessary for any project of the critique of the university in crisis. First, it will be claimed that the diagnosis of the crisis itself, the indication of its internal driving mechanisms, highlighting of their sources, are always parts of the critical research. Second, the task of critique is always a partisan project. It has to take sides and situate itself along with the antagonistic subject struggling “against” the university in crisis, opposing domination, hierarchies, expropriation and exploitation. Third, critique has to look “beyond” the limited horizon imposed by the crisis and to map an imminent forms of social relations, that are perceptible today in their germ-like appearances, and that could create a basis for the university of the future. This type of critique does not draft an utopian prospects but reveals the elements of what has to come, within the empty shell of the old university. As will be shown, critical higher education research are guided by the conviction that the university which we are fighting for, will not emerge as result of automatic and dialectical movement of inevitable and relentless laws of historical development. It will not come out when the frame of the old neoliberal university will be blown up spontaneously by its real contradictions. However, as will be indicated, this is not a reason for pessimism. Historically speaking, the development of the university creates conditions conducive to liberation. Material manifestation of this situation, as many critical higher education researchers claim, is the common that lays at the core of both, academic endeavour and the capitalist knowledge economy under the needs of which the contemporary university is constantly being subsumed. The paper will conclude with the indication on the importance of the critique as a process that is able to combine the real diagnosis of the crisis, an antagonistic subject that suffers from it, with the materials of its liberation that lays within the sphere of the common.
Edu-factory Collective (2009), Toward a global autonomous university: cognitive labor, the Production of knowledge and exodus from the education factory. New York: Autonomedia. Hardt, M.; Negri, A. (2009), Commonwealth, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Martínez-Alemán, A. M.; B. Pusser, E. M. Bensimon (eds.) (2015), Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education. A Practical Introduction, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Szadkowski, K. (2015a), Uniwersytet jako dobro wspólne. Podstawy krytycznych badań nad szkolnictwem wyższym, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN. Szadkowski, K. (2015b), Towards a university as an institution of the common: critical and Marxist higher education research, "Revista Eletrônica Cadernos CIMEAC", 5(1), pp. 8-31. Winn, J. (2014), Writing about academic labour. "Workplace: A journal for academic labour", 25, pp. 1-15.
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