<editorial board> <agu> The Double Crisis of the University and the Global Economy

gerald raunig raunig at eipcp.net
Wed Dec 24 15:35:15 CET 2008

hi, some thoughts on ...
- title
edu-notes is indeed a bit cautious. i also like the idea of just using 
the concept of edu-factory as it is, as it both has a general critical 
undertone and a specific echo of fabbrica diffusa / the issue of 
immaterial labor. but maybe there are even further ideas for a 
linguistically neutral concept not only connected to one language.
subtitle: reference to the university might be too narrow, as it does 
not cover issues of self-education and the relations between educational 
institutions and their outside/alternatives. so maybe a subtitle like: 
transformations and struggles of knowledge production?
- is there a chance for multilinguality?
i liked the idea to publish the edu-factory-book in some three or four 
languages. so when the journal will be published on the web, in a medium 
that is even more suitable for multilingual publishing, why not try to 
organize it in a multilingual fashion and break away from that boring 
usage of one hegemonial language? from my perspective a debate on how to 
make this possible could also be more fruitful than questions like which 
kind of a state apparatus one could put up for "quality control" ;)
by the way, one more issue will be: how to avoid the restriction of 
access and how to implement the most suitable version of copyleft.
- structure
reagarding the political materials i would propose two main lines: 1. 
reports on political struggles like the onda anomala, 2. practice 
examples of self-education and self-organization inside and outside the 
university etc.
- zero-issue
connecting to the mail below and the question "How is the crisis likely 
to affect the production of knowledge and the organization of such 
production around innovation?", i would be interested in the specific 
effects of this crisis, be it financial or economic or whatever, not 
only on the practice of knowledge production, but also on the theory of 
cognitive capitalism.
also during the last few months i see a problem coming up in (radical) 
leftist circles: because of the crisis supposed as purely economic you 
can find quite many traces of a proliferation of vulgar marxist 
thinking, and even the return of a main antagonism. of course, its great 
that many start reading das kapital for the first time in their lives, 
but i think, its worth while reflecting the re-appearance of simplifying 
theoretical approaches and contextualizing them in the complex 
arrangement of transversal struggles against sexism and heteronormative 
orders, racism, eurocentrism, islamophobia, antisemtism, neo-colonialism 

info at edu-factory.org schrieb:
> The following are some brief notes to initiate discussion on
> the proposed theme for a zero issue of the edu-factory
> journal. After some off-list discussion, it has been
> suggested that the journal should be titled Edu-Notes:
> Conflicts and Transformations of the University.
> We would like to thank Augusto Illuminati and Nirmal Puwar
> for their insightful contributions. The first point below is
> an attempt to address the important comment made by Augusto
> regarding the term financial crisis. We would also like to
> open discussion regarding Nirmal’s concern about the
> possible narrowness of the proposed theme. By putting
> forward the following points for discussion we hope that
> other members of the editorial board can intervene regarding
> the appropriateness of the suggested theme for the zero
> issue.
> Ned Rossiter has also made a key intervention regarding the
> tricky question of peer review and quality control.
> Hopefully Ned’s provocation can attract some serious
> discussion of this matter on the list. We do not expect this
> is a question we will resolve quickly but it is a crucial
> one to confront.
> In this message, however, we restrict ourselves to the
> question of the zero issue, since the preparation of a call
> for papers, which should be briefer than what is outlined
> below, is perhaps the most urgent issue to confront. 
> As starting point, the zero issue would investigate the
> characteristics of the global crisis. In mainstream
> analysis, the current economic situation is described as
> financial crisis. This idea is based on the classical
> division between finance and real economy, which we want to
> question. From this point of view, it is better to talk of a
> global economic crisis.
> We would base this analysis of the crisis on the
> investigation of material changes. What are the nature and
> the roots of the crisis? How is the crisis likely to affect
> the production of knowledge and the organization of such
> production around innovation?
> What does it mean to refer to the crisis as a global crisis?
> What are the different forms of translation of the crisis in
> various transnational contexts? How are academic employment,
> higher education export, higher degree research recruitment
> or other aspects affected?
> The focal point of the issue should be the nexus between the
> global economic crisis and the crisis of the university. By
> the latter, we refer to the end of the modern concept of the
> university and the permanent crisis of its transition into
> the new framework.
> With regard to the university, this double crisis highlights
> the difficulty of conducting an analysis in the classical
> terms of the dialectic between public and private. The
> corporatization of the university is not its privatization,
> but indicates that its new form – that is, the form of the
> crisis – must be thought beyond the state/private sector
> distinction.
> For instance, some articles could focus on the student debt
> system as one of the roots of the contemporary crisis. Such
> an investigation might approach the operations of the
> student debt system as paradigmatic for a sort of
> financialization of the welfare system.
> It could be interesting to analyze the relationship between
> universities and collateralised debt obligations.
> Institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance
> houses and university endowment funds were among the most
> important purchasers of these and other securitized
> financial products. But they were also among the first to
> become wary of such investments and thus their financial
> decisions contributed to the onset of the crisis.
> Another question concerns the role of ranking systems in the
> determination and evolution of the double crisis. The
> continued high ranking of securitized debt products by bond
> rating houses like Moodys and Standard and Poors contributed
> to the onset of the economic crisis. The global ranking of
> universities by institutions such as Shanghai Jiao Tong and
> Times Higher has become an obsession in higher education.
> What are the relations and complicities between such ranking
> systems? 
> In this framework, there emerge two important questions. On
> one hand, it is necessary to ask how the global economic
> crisis redefines the crisis of the university. On the other
> hand, there is a need to inquire into the place and role of
> conflicts in the nexus of this double crisis.
> Finally, it would be interesting to discuss the temporality
> of the crisis in relation to the temporality of the
> production of knowledge. Does the traditional cycle outline,
> which poses financialization as a final stage that follows
> an expansion of material production, still apply? Or do we
> have to investigate a new temporality of the crisis? What
> does this mean for the temporality of conflicts, which have
> been understood to follow a cycle of struggles?
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