Beyond public and private: a framework for co-operative higher education

Neary, Mike and Winn, Joss (2016) Beyond public and private: a framework for co-operative higher education. In: Co-operative Education Conference 2016., 21-22nd April 2016, Manchester.

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Beyond public and private: A framework for co-operative higher education
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Abstract

Universities in the UK are increasingly adopting corporate governance structures, a consumerist model of teaching and learning, and have the most expensive tuition fees in the world (McGettigan, 2013; OECD, 2015). This paper reports on a 12-month project funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) to develop an alternative model of knowledge production grounded in co-operative values and principles. The project has been run with the Social Science Centre (SSC), a small, experimental co-operative for higher education established in Lincoln in 2011 (Social Science Centre, 2013).

In the paper we discuss the design of the research project, the widespread interest in the idea of co-operative higher education and our approach based on the collaborative production of knowledge by academics and students (Neary and Winn, 2009; Winn 2015). The main findings of the research so far are outlined relating to the key themes of our research: knowledge, democracy, bureaucracy, livelihood, and solidarity. We consider how these five 'catalytic principles' relate to three identified routes to co-operative higher education (conversion, dissolution, or creation) and argue that such work must be grounded in an adequate critique of labour and property i.e. the capital relation. We identify both the possible opportunities that the latest higher education reform in the UK affords the co-operative movement as well as the issues that arise from a more marketised and financialised approach to the production of knowledge (HEFCE, 2015). Finally, we suggest ways that the co-operative movement might respond with democratic alternatives that go beyond the distinction of public and private education.

Keywords:Higher Education, co-operatives, co-operative university
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
N Business and Administrative studies > N224 Management and Organisation of Education
L Social studies > L150 Political Economics
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:23051
Deposited On:22 Apr 2016 12:25

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