eipcp News
09 2010

Transforming Universities: Measure, Transition, Institution

Call for papers - Edufactory Journal, No. 1


‘The old institutions are crumbling ...’ - so began the introduction to the zero issue of Edufactory Journal on the double crisis of the university and the global economy. Paradoxically, one of the conditions of this double crisis is the global expansion of the university. The old institutions are crumbling but they are simultaneously trying to reinvent themselves, to transplant themselves, to network themselves. This issue of the Edufactory Journal will investigate two faces of this situation. The first section entitled ‘Occupations’ will examine the global transition of higher education with a focus on new institutions being established in different parts of the world. The second section entitled ‘Anomalies’ will focus on struggles against the ‘system of measure’ that presides over the transition of universities. As the overall ambition of the issue is to understand the connection between the globalization of higher education and the imposition of measure, we also welcome contributions that critically analyse the connections between these processes.

‘Occupations’ will examine the proliferation of new universities. Not only do we witness the founding of online universities but also the massive expansion of the education market in countries such as India, China, Egypt and Brazil. New knowledge spaces are being established in special economic zones and new kinds of partnerships, consortia and divisions of labour are being forged between higher education institutions across the world. The opening of offshore branch campuses accompanies the establishment of new kinds of private institutions and the forging of international university chains or networks under different corporate banners and branding techniques. With these developments appear new transnational forms of institutional governance, new kinds of trade relations, and new kinds of connections between universities and societies. There also arise new knowledge practices and conflicts as institutions negotiate their structures with regard to disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and the ‘conflict of the faculties’. The topic of ‘new universities’ is related to the question of transition. On one hand, we wish to enquire into the meaning and models of transition in concrete cases - for example, in the post-soviet world. On the other hand, if the concept of transition implies a non-historicist narration, we can also approach it as a space of possibility: that is to say, the permanent transition of capitalism also signals the possibility of new kinds of political thought and action. How do we read this possibility alongside the imperative to innovation, constant variation and adaptation that animates the globalization of higher education? And how do these changes produce new kinds of subjectivities and struggles in the production of knowledge?

There is a strict connection between the pressures on universities to produce innovation and adapt to change and the ‘system of measure’ that drives the emergent forms of higher education. The ‘Anomalies’ section will critically examine this ‘system of measure’, the struggles against it and efforts to invent alternatives to it. By the ‘system of measure’ we refer to an assemblage of techniques for quantifying, standardizing, counting, ranking, benchmarking and rigidly assigning value to academic production and labour . Peer review is an important element of the ‘system of measure’ as is the construction of university rankings, the calculation of economic impacts, the introduction of workload formulas, the conduct of research audits, the use of performance indicators and the deployment of metrics. These technologies not only quantify and hierarchize the field of higher education to ever higher degrees but they also seek to homogenize and individualize the production of living knowledge. Furthermore, they are key drivers in processes of institutional restructuring and the drawing of business plans for establishment of new higher education institutions. Struggles against the axing of academic programs or tuition fee hikes are directly struggles against the system of measure. This section of the journal will investigate such struggles as well as practices that thwart the ‘system of measure’ through protest, resistance and the invention of alternatives.

The Edufactory Journal is a venue for experimentation with alternative forms of intellectual production that emphasize cooperation, self-organization and the refusal of measure. The journal embodies these principles in its processes and methods and not only its end products. We welcome contributions from authors who address the questions surrounding the global transition of higher education and/or take a critical approach to the ‘system of measure’. Articles that tackle both of these tasks are especially welcome. All submissions must confirm to the style guide published on the journal’s site.

They will be collectively read by the editorial board in an open and collaborative manner.

Deadline for submissions is: 15 January 2011. Please send submissions

to: n.puwar@gold.ac.uk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , thejonnyroach@gmail.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it, and raunig@eipcp.net