edu-factory 2.0

3Cs is participating in the second round of edu-factory discussion Nov. 25, 2007 — Feb. 28, 2008.  We’re posting the week of Dec. 9 – 15. Check out the website — — to join in the discussion!

edu-factory 2.0

Written by edu-factory collective
Saturday, 10 November 2007
Prospectus for Second Round of edu-factory discussion

25 Nov 2007 – 28 Feb 2008

The first round of discussion on the edu-factory list showed that, despite the many differences between universities and countries, it is possible to identify a global trend and common experiences in the world of the university. These stem from the pervasiveness of the market and the processes of corporatisation that universities in many parts of the world are undergoing. But they also involve the struggles and movements that have contested academic borders as well as wider power structures, claiming the free circulation of knowledge and practicing alternative forms of knowledge production.

The emergence of the university as an important actor in the global economy is thus marked by a constitutive tension. In this conflictual field, it is easy to fall back on a nostalgic attitude that longs for the reconstruction of the ivory towers that were once the privileged seats of national cultures. It is also possible, however, to interrogate the processes of production of subjectivity in the new ‘knowledge factories’ with neither nostalgia nor apologies for the present. Needless to say, edu-factory has taken this second path.

The first round of discussion focused on the processes of corporatisation, the transnational dimension of the contemporary university, and forms of resistance and conflict in the production of knowledge. On this basis, we propose to focus the next three months of discussion on two new axes of discussion.

The first is the question of hierarchy. Today the university is one of many actors – private and public, formal and informal – within a complex and rapidly changing market for knowledge and education. Academic institutions have begun to think of themselves as competitors against others in this market. In many countries, universities are positioned in league tables, constructed through ever more calibrated ways of quantifying performance and the quality of knowledge. Not only this, but individual offices and departments within institutions are also compelled to compete, vying for students or research funds, and, in some cases, contracting services such as teaching space or information technology expertise to each other. Furthermore, academics, students and other university workers come to see themselves as entrepreneurial subjects, engaged in race to excel or just survive and often adopting a corporate attitude that makes them insensitive to how the changes in their workplaces relate to those in the wider economy.

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