Marx, Engels and the critique of academic labor

Gregory, Karen and Winn, Joss (2016) Marx, Engels and the critique of academic labor. Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, 28 . ISSN 1715-0094

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Articles in Workplace have repeatedly called for increased collective organisation in opposition to a disturbing trajectory: individual autonomy is decreasing, contractual conditions are worsening, individual mental health issues are rising, and academic work is being intensified. Despite our theoretical advances and concerted practical efforts to resist these conditions, the gains of the 20th century labor movement are diminishing and the history of the university appears to be on a determinate course. To date, this course is often spoken of in the language of “crisis.”

While crisis may indeed point us toward the contemporary social experience of work and study within the university, we suggest that there is one response to the transformation of the university that has yet to be adequately explored: A thoroughgoing and reflexive critique of academic labor. By this, we mean a negative critique of academic labor and its role in the political economy of capitalism; one which focuses on understanding the basic character of ‘labor’ in capitalism as a historically specific social form. Beyond the framework of crisis, what productive, definite social relations are actively resituating the university and its labor within the demands, proliferations, and contradictions of capital?

With the production of this special issue of Workplace, we hope to contribute to a negative critique of academic labor that not only helps make these social relations more transparent, but situates academic labor as an object of critique within the discourse of recent developments in Marxist praxis.

Keywords:academic labour, higher education, Marx, Marxism, critical theory, NotOAChecked
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
L Social studies > L150 Political Economics
L Social studies > L380 Political Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:23620
Deposited On:01 Aug 2016 17:45

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