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Marxist Higher Education Research – A Blog

Higher education has never been a favourite object of Marxist reflection. There are only a few studies that approach higher education as a capitalist sector of production per se. We lack proposals that approach the entire landscape of higher education as a coherent productive network of different actors which is exploited in its systematic totality. Marxist research on higher education is not a stake-less endeavour. The sector has been undergoing deep and unprecedented transformations. Not only in the centre of the capitalist world-system, but also on the peripheries. In this context, Marxist analysis provides not only a critique of the political economy of these processes but seeing them through the lenses of class antagonism contributes to the development of academic struggles.

While mainstream higher education research seems to pay some attention to the capitalist transformation of the sector and provided crucial empirical insight into its specifics, they remain helpless in offering solutions to the most severe problems and, at large, are politically impotent. It is because of its specific status. As it is a field that emerged out of particular interest of the states in expanding and controlling the sector. The state’s desire to control through knowledge provided both the interest and the financial stimulus for funding research projects, as well as the research centres. In this respect, higher education research reminds the first attempts in the field of political economy – trying to get to grips with the modern form of economic control over an ever-expanding sector. Therefore, expecting a political or scientific breakthrough from this mostly applied research seems hopeless. 

Marxist scholarship on the topic seems to be scattered and barely forming a common discussion. There are classical works that seem cited more often than studied and criticized. There are new articles regularly being published in more or less random journals, as there is no single venue where they could be read and understood. The idea behind this blog is to provide a space where the newest contributions to the conversation will be noticed and given the attention they deserve. Once in a while a recent article, book chapter, or a book will be referred to and discussed. Gradually, a broad panorama of an existing Marxist scholarship will emerge. In addition, contributions from mainstream higher education research will be revised here to collect resources for stimulating further a Marxist critique of the political economy of higher education.  

Published inMarxist Higher Education Research