Friday, 9 March 2012

Life in the Higher Sausage Factory

Guest Lecture to the Teacher Education Research Group

Dr Glenn Rikowski
School of Education, University of Northampton,

will talk about

Capital in a Crisis of Higher Education, and Higher Education in a Crisis of Capital

22nd March 2012

The Cass School of Education and Communities
Room 2.02
University of East London
Water Lane
London E15 4LZ

Free and Open To All


In the first volume of Capital, Karl Marx likened private schools to a ‘sausage factory’. They both had one crucial feature in common for Marx: they produced commodities. Hence, labour in private schools and in sausage factories was value-creating, productive labour for Marx. Starting out from this insight, Glenn Rikowski explores the condition of higher education in England. Features such as the marketisation, commodification, capitalisation (and its intensification) and the social relations of production in higher education are examined in this process. It is argued that not only are workers and students in higher education living through a period of ‘higher education in a crisis of capital’ but also a ‘crisis of capital in higher education’.
Glenn Rikowski argues that the dynamic of the social relations of production will shape coming struggles within the higher education sector (both in England and beyond). The final part of the paper looks at various student modes of being as situated within these crises: the ‘student as consumer’ model; the ‘student as social enterpriser’; the ‘student as producer’ (after Michael Neary); and the ‘student as communiser’ (inserting communisation theory into the analysis).

Glenn Rikowski BA DipSoc (UEA) PGCE MSc(Econ) (London) DipAppRM (Thames Valley) PhD (Warwick)

Dr. Glenn Rikowski is a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies and Childhood & Youth in the School of Education at the University of Northampton. He was previously Senior Research Fellow in Lifelong Learning at the University of Central England (1999-2001) and a Research Fellow in the School of Education, University of Birmingham (1994-1999). Prior to that, Glenn taught in further education colleges and schools in Essex and London, and worked as a Research Officer for Coventry LEA (1982-85).

His publications include: The Battle in Seattle: Its Significance for Education (2001, Tufnell Press); (with Dave Hill, Peter McLaren and Mike Cole) the edited collection Marxism against Postmodernism in Educational Theory (2002, Lexington Books); and Renewing Dialogues in Marxism and Education – Opening (2007) edited with Tony Green and Helen Raduntz.

With Tony Green (University of London, Institute of Education), Dr. Rikowski set up the Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues seminars in 2001, and ran them with Tony Green until October 2007. Again with Tony Green, Rikowski set up the world’s first book series in ‘Marxism and Education’ through Palgrave Macmillan (in 2004). From 1994 to 2002, he was a member of the Hillcole Group of Radical Left Educators.

“Capitalist production is not merely the production of commodities, it is essentially the production of surplus-value. The labourer produces, not for himself, but for capital. It no longer suffices, therefore, that he should simply produce. He must produce surplus-value. That labourer alone is productive, who produces surplus-value for the capitalist, and thus works for the self-expansion of capital. If we may take an example from outside the sphere of production of material objects, a schoolmaster is a productive labourer, when, in addition to belabouring the heads of his scholars, he works like a horse to enrich the school proprietor. That the latter has laid out his capital in a teaching factory, instead of a sausage factory, does not alter the relation. Hence the notion of a productive labourer implies not merely a relation between work and useful effect, between labourer and product of labour, but also a specific, social relation of production, a relation that has sprung up historically and stamps the labourer as the direct means of creating surplus-value. To be a productive labourer is, therefore, not a piece of luck, but a misfortune” (Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I).

The Rikowski family website: The Flow of Ideas:
All that is Solid for Glenn Rikowski (blog) is at: