Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gigi Roggero on university factories and academia

New book shows how universities in Europe and North American are run like factories and how this affects academic workers

New from Temple University Press:

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

Publication Date: September 20, 2011

214 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 "

Cloth 978-1-4399-0573-9 $69.50

How universities in Europe and North American are run like factories and how this affects academic workers

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: The Crisis of the University and the Transformation of Labor in Europe and North America (Publication Date: September 20, 2011), 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 of conricerca, 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.

Gigi Roggero is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Politics, Institutions, and History at the University of Bologna. He is a member of the editorial board of WorkingUSA, and the collectives Edu-factory and Uninomade and a regular contributor to Il Manifesto. He is the author of Intelligenze fuggitive: Movimenti contro l'università-azienda, and co-author (with Guido Borio and Francesca Pozzi) of Futuro anteriore: Dai "Quaderni Rossi" ai movimenti globali: Ricchezze e limiti dell'operaismo italiano.

For a Review Copy, please contact:

Temple University Press

Phone: 215-926-2154

Fax: 215-926-2141

Email: Gary Kramer

Wednesday, August 3, 2011



Dear Colleagues,

As detailed below, Greek public universities are in danger of being demolished by the new higher education bill the government will propose to Parliament for voting within the next couple of weeks. Please help us stop the voting of the bill by signing the petition.

If you agree with the call that follows, please sign the petition and forward it to as many colleages as possible.

Judith Butler, Slavoj Zizek and Noam Chomsky have signed it, among others.

with many thanks and best wishes



To the international academic community

PUBLIC Greek Universities in Danger

In the last few years, a wave of ‘reforms’ within the European Union and throughout the world has subjected Higher Education to the logic of the market. Higher Education has increasingly been transformed from a public good and a civil right to a commodity for the wealthy. The self-government of Universities and the autonomy of academic processes are also being eroded. The processes of knowledge production and acquisition, as well as the working conditions of the academic community, are now governed by the principles of the private sector, from which Universities are obliged to seek funds.
Greece is possibly the only European Union country where attempts to implement these ‘reforms’ have so far failed. Important factors in this failure are the intense opposition of Greek society as well as the Greek Constitution, according to which Higher Education is provided exclusively by public, fully self-governed and state-funded institutions.
According to the existing institutional framework for the functioning of Universities, itself the result of academic and student struggles before and after the military dictatorship (1967-1974), universities govern themselves through bodies elected by the academic community. Although this institutional framework has contributed enormously to the development of Higher Education in Greece, insufficient funding and suffocating state control, as well as certain unlawful and unprofessional practices by the academic community, have rendered Higher Education reform necessary.
The current government has now hastily attempted a radical reform of Higher Education. On the pretext of the improvement of the ‘quality of education’ and its harmonization with ‘international academic standards’, the government is promoting the principles of ‘reciprocity’ in Higher Education. At the same time, it is drastically decreasing public funding for education (up to 50% decrease) which is already amongst the lowest in the European Union. New appointments of teaching staff will follow a ratio 1:10 to the retirement of existing staff members. This will have devastating results in the academic teaching process as well as in the progress of scientific knowledge.
The government proposals seek to bypass the constitutional obligations of the state towards public Universities and abolish their academic character.
  • The self-government of Universities will be circumvented, with the current elected governing bodies replaced by appointed ‘Councils’ who will not be accountable to the academic community.
  • The future of Universities located on the periphery, as well as of University departments dedicated to ‘non-commercial’ scientific fields, looks gloomy.
  • Academic staff will no longer be regarded as public functionaries. The existing national payscale is to be abolished and replaced by individualized, ‘productivity’ related payscales, while insecure employment is to become the norm for lower rank employees.
  • Higher Education will be transformed into ‘training’ and, along with research, gradually submitted to market forces.
The government proposals have been rejected by the Greek academic community. The Council of Vice-Chancellors and the Senates of almost all Universities have publicly called the government to withdraw the proposals and have suggested alternative proposals which can more effectively deal with the problems of Greek Universities. Despite this, the government proceeds with promoting its proposals, in confrontation with the entire academic community.
We appeal to our colleagues from the international academic community, who have experienced the consequences of similar reforms, to support us in our struggle to defend education as a public good. We fight, together with our British, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and other colleagues, for the respect of the academic tradition of the European universitas in current conditions.

We ask you to send electronically the appeal below, signed with your name and indicating your academic status and institutional affiliation, to the Initiative of Greek Academics ( or sign online at

The support of the international academic community will prove invaluable for the upcoming developments not only in Greek Universities but in respect to public European Higher Education as a whole.

Initiative of Greek academics