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The Production of Living Knowledge

The Production of Living Knowledge: The Crisis of the University and the Transformation of Labor in Europe and North America

Gigi Roggero
Translated and with a Foreword by ENDA BROPHY
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 214
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  • Book Info
    The Production of Living Knowledge
    Book Description:

    Evaluating higher education institutions-particularly the rise of the "global university"-and their rapidly changing role in the global era, Gigi Roggero finds the system in crisis. In his groundbreaking book,The Production of Living Knowledge, Roggero examines the university system as a key site of conflict and transformation within "cognitive capitalism"-a regime in which knowledge has become increasingly central to the production process at large. Based on extensive fieldwork carried out through the activist method ofconricerca, or "co-research," wherein researchers are also subjects, Roggero's book situates the crisis of the university and the changing composition of its labor force against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.

    Combining a discussion of radical experiments in education, new student movements, and autonomist Marxian (or post-operaista) social theory, Roggero produces a distinctly transnational and methodologically innovative critique of the global university from the perspective of what he calls "living knowledge."

    In light of new student struggles in the United States and across the world, this first English-language edition is particularly timely.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0575-3
    Subjects: Education, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Translator’s Foreword: Cognitive Capitalism and the University
    (pp. vii-xiv)

    What is the status of the university in an era when knowledge, communication, culture, and affect have been “put to work” with unprecedented intensity? This is the question that Gigi Roggero’s text confronts, beginning with the premise that it is impossible to grasp the contemporary transformation of the university without considering the equally seismic shifts that are occurring in the condition of labor.The Production of Living Knowledgeoffers us the first extended analysis of the transformation of the university as read against the hypothesized emergence of cognitive capitalism and the forms of labor sustaining it. As such this book...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. Introduction: Living on the Borders
    (pp. 1-14)

    Neoliberalism is finished. This does not mean that the effects of neoliberal politics have disappeared but that they are no longer able to constitute a coherent system. In this context it can be difficult to remember that just twenty years ago the think tanks of global capital had proclaimed the “end of history” or that radical thinkers had declared the passivity of the new subjects of living labor dominated by “monological thought”—that is, by the alleged invincibility and totalitarian aspects of neoliberal capitalism. In the aftermath of global movements and the onset of the global crisis, these assessments no...

  6. 1 The Future Is Archaic
    (pp. 15-30)

    To go beyond—that is both the ambitious objective and the substantial problematic of this book. It requires taking as one’s point of departure an ample history of research and theoretical formulation that, with different emphases and sometimes different perspectives, has often been able to anticipate and powerfully inform analyses of the transformations of labor and of capital beginning in the 1970s. The common name of this history—of which this research is a part—isoperaismo, an experience that from a historical perspective can, to a large extent, be perceived as having come to an end during the preceding...

  7. 2 Coordinates of Capitalist Transition
    (pp. 31-60)

    Everything is “post.” This was, midway through the 1980s, for Beck, the point of departure and the challenge faced in the analysis of the “risk society”:¹ only by offering the outlines of a positive definition of the transformation in progress could a “beyond” be spoken of. “Post” has, in effect, been the key word of the three decades that accompanied the second millennium to its conclusion: from an industrial economy to a postindustrial one, from Fordism to post-Fordism, and from the modern to the postmodern. Within the profound transformations of work and of the forms of capitalist production, “post” has...

  8. 3 Corporatization of the University: Rhetoric, Trends, Actuality
    (pp. 61-86)

    If knowledge, culture, and language have become the prism through which to read the transformations of production, then systems of higher education can be considered a privileged observatory from which to analyze these dynamics given their status as “incubators of innovation”¹ or strategic spaces of connection in the regime of “flexible accumulation.”² From this perspective, there are those who have asked—beginning from the Italian experience—whether we are witnessing the “passage to a post-Fordist university,”³ and others, observing the U.K./American system, who have speculated as to the arrival of an “academic capitalism”:

    We call institutional and professional market or...

  9. 4 The Production of Living Knowledge
    (pp. 87-112)

    Who are the subjects of the production of knowledge? Theorists of the “wealth of networks,” of the “digital utopia” and of “anarcho-capitalism”¹—from Pekka Himanen to the already-cited Benkler—have described a weakening of capitalist dominion, at least in its industrial form, in the face of producers and of consumers, unified in the figure of the “prosumer.” The “information age,” according to these authors, dissolves labor power into personal connections, sociality, and the exchange of knowledge, at the center of which individuals and communities become prominent. Their model is based on the principle of self-organization, a concept that in net...

  10. 5 Borders and Lines of Flight: The Institutions of the Common
    (pp. 113-134)

    To trace the genealogy of flexibility and the “new anthropology” of cognitive labor back through the transformations of class composition and the struggles that led to the crisis of “Fordism,” rather than seeing such labor as unilaterally imposed by capital, goes against a significant portion of the analyses of thedecline of political and trade union representation, or rather, of its causes and prospects. The tendency is to locate the roots of this process exclusively in the attack carried out on labor rights, in fragmentation and individualization, in the loss of a collective identity, in the firm’s shirking of its...

  11. 6 Brief Observations on Method: The Production of Knowledge and Conricerca
    (pp. 135-142)

    Three dichotomies, according to the Italian sociologist Michele La Rosa,¹ have historically traversed sociological research: the rigid division between disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, between theory and praxis, and between totality and specificity, or, rather, between macro and micro. From ethnomethodology to ethnography, over recent decades various approaches within the social sciences have profitably questioned and occasionally overturned such counterposed instances, upending consolidated perspectives and programmatically situating their practices within the overflowing of the experience of the world, bringing the productivity of doubt to the heart of scientific truth.² This has meant, above all, the problematization of the relation between the subject...

  12. Conclusion: The Time of the Common
    (pp. 143-160)

    Nyu’s first building was erected in 1835 in Washington Square, in the heart of Greenwich Village. Its marble came from the unwaged labor of Sing Sing prisoners. Against this widespread practice, the year before, the stonemasons had attacked the buildings of the subcontracting company, causing $2,000 worth of damage. Only the intervention of the National Guard would tame the first riot of the New York labor movement. One hundred seventy years later, the struggles of the new composition of labor shake the edifices of NYU once again, rendering even more porous the boundaries of marble that used to separate it...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 161-190)
  14. Index
    (pp. 191-194)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 195-195)