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Challenging the Capitalist University

This is an abstract submitted by Professor Mike Neary for inclusion in the forthcoming conference in June at the London School of Economics: Governing Academic Life:

CHALLENGING THE CAPITALIST UNIVERSITY – research, teaching and the recovery of revolutionary communist science

Contra to Foucault’s assertion that the state is a ‘mythicised abstraction’ (College de France Lecture 1979), this paper argues that the state is a real abstraction whose concrete violent political substance is derived from the dynamic dysfunctionality that lies at the core of the capital relation: the struggle between Capital and Labour.  The importance of the power of abstraction for the social sciences was developed by Karl Marx in his mature social theory in Capital and the Grundrisse where he revealed the real nature of Capital’s other violent real abstraction: Money. It is the concept of  abstraction in relation to Money as a form of Capital that provides the basis for Marx’s major theoretical breakthrough in the Social Sciences. By applying this methodology to the Capitalist University it is possible to reveal not only the logic of  ‘academic capitalism’, but to develop strategies to challenge the Capitalist University based on the dynamic contradiction that lies at the core of the production of capitalist knowledge:  the dysfunctionality between research and teaching, and to establish a framework for action out of which new forms of revolutionary communist science might emerge. The arguments made in this paper will be set against the work of Ball (2008) and Jessop (2008), specifically their views on the nature of state regulation and its consequences for higher education,  and illustrated with reference to two experiments in reframing the relationship between teaching and research inside and outside of an English university: Student as Producer at the University of Lincoln and the Social Science Centre, Lincoln.


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Student as Producer and the Cooperative University

In this blog post about ‘Student as Producer and the Cooperative University’ Joss Winn provides an exposition of the theoretical development of the concept of Student as Producer. He does this by reviewing a series of articles on the subject of Student as Producer written by Professor Mike Neary as single author and with other colleagues at Lincoln since 2008. At the core of this review is a discussion about how Student as Producer might form the basis for a pedagogy of a Cooperative University.

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StudentasProducer-democratising the powerpoint in the classroom


Slides from a recent presentation by Professor Mike Neary. Mike is talking about Student as Producer at a  Student as Partners event at the University of Westminster hosted jointly with the Higher Education Academy.

The point of the talk was how to democratise teaching and learning in higher education. Mike uses the concept of the powerpoint as a metaphor to discuss the hierarchical nature of pedagogic practice in higher education and why this might be detrimental to academic and student life.


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Student as Producer and JISC


Student as Producer as JISC case study here: ‘Hacking the University – Lincoln’s Approach to Openness’

Student as Producer features here  as part of a JISC funding programme:

‘Engaging students in the process of research and of creating resources does far more than simply enhancing the learning experience. It also develops valuable skills for life – while improving research outcomes too.’



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Student as Producer – Keynotes and Seminars (2011-2013)


This is a list of Professor Mike Neary’s keynotes and other speaking engagements about Student as Producer and related matters (incomplete):


University of Westminster (1st June, 2013) ‘Student as Producer’, Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture

University of Sussex (13th May, 2013) ‘Student as Producer’, Centre for Higher Education and Equality Research, chrome-extension://bpmcpldpdmajfigpchkicefoigmkfalc/views/app.html

University of Newcastle (19th March, 2013) ‘Student as Producer: Reinventing “the idea of the University” as a Radical Political Project’, Three Rivers Teaching and Learning Conference

Galician Centre for Contemporary Art  (6th February, 2013) ‘Two Academics in Search of an Alternative’ (with Professor Keri Facer)  Santiago de Compostela, Spain

University of Southampton ( 24th January, 2013) ‘Student as Producer’, E-Learning Symposium

University of Essex (8th January, 2013) ‘Student as Producer – a model for institutional change’, Teaching and Learning conference

University of Newcastle (12th December, 2012) ‘Student as Producer: The Medium is the Message’, Standing Committee for Heads of Media Services Conference

Manchester Metropolitan University (24th October, 2012) ‘Student as Producer: Reinventing the Undergraduate Curriculum’, Education and Social Research Institute,

Macquarie University, Sydney ( 12th September, 2012) ‘Why is Undergraduate Research So Great!’ First Australasian Conference for Undergraduate Research

Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent (date) ‘Student as Producer’, Teaching and Learning Conference

University of the West of Scotland ( 21st July, 2012) ‘Student as Producer: Designing an Integrated Curriculum across a Whole Institution’, Teaching and Learning Conference

Goldsmiths’ College, University of London (17th May, 2012) ‘Education as an Experiment’ with Sarah Amsler

University of Leeds ( 16th May, 2012) ‘Student as Producer’, Department of Geography,;4cbf7f4c.1205

University of Warwick ( 20th March, 2012) ‘BCUR and the Future for Undergraduate Research’, British Conference for Undergraduate Research ( BCUR) Conference

University of Bangor (8th February 2012) ‘Student as Producer’

University of Southampton Solent ( 24th January, 2012) Learning Landscapes in Higher Education, Teaching and Learning Conference

University of Leeds Metropolitan University ( 16th January, 2012) ‘The Importance of Research’, Postgraduate Research Conference

Tent City University ( 2nd October, 2011) Student as Producer, London- St. Paul’s Cathedral

University of Leeds Metropolitan University ( 26th November, 2011) ‘Re-imagining the University’, Education Activist Network, with Sarah Amsler

University of Hertfordshire ( 18th November, 2011) ‘Student as Producer’, Teaching and Learning event

University of Lincoln (11th November, 2011) ‘Student as Producer – a Difference Engine’ DevXS

University of the West of Scotland ( 1st November, 2011) ‘Masterclass on Student as Producer’

University of New York (12th October, 2011) Student as Producer seminar

De Montfort University ( 21st June, 2011) ‘Student as Producer: Making not Future Proofing the Future’, Teaching and Learning event

University of Galway, Ireland (10th June, 2011) ‘Student as Producer’ Engaging Minds: Active Learning, Participation and Collaboration in Higher Education

University of Middlesex (1st July, 2008) Student as Producer: Reinventing the Undergraduate Curriculum’ Teaching and Learning Conference