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Tuesday 17th November 2015, 5-6.30 pm
Cass School of Education and Communities Building ED4.02, UEL Stratford Campus
Seminar title: Varieties of Academic Capitalism
Seminar speaker: Professor Bob Jessop (Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University)
Convenor: Dr. Terri Kim (t.c.kim@uel.ac.uk)

Abstract: 
Where the recent literature on academic capitalism goes beyond a simple assessment of who governs universities and research institutions to link this phenomenon to an account of the dynamics of capital accumulation, it tends to assume that capitalism involves a rational orientation to the maximization of profit or revenue and is based on increasing the role of market forces in all areas of social life. This latter approach fits with the neoclassical approach in economic analysis, with the more general interest of heterodox economics in profit-oriented, market-mediated accumulation, and with Weber's definition of rational capitalism as an orientation to gain based on trade in free markets and the rational organization of capitalist production based on double-entry book-keeping. However, Weber also distinguished another kind of rational capitalism (financial speculation), three kinds of political capitalism (based on profits gained through force and domination, through predatory activities, and through unusual deals with political authority), and traditional commercial capitalism (Swedberg 1998). In this article, I deploy Weber's six-fold categorization of orientations to gain or profit to explore different dimensions of the orientation to profit in universities and advanced research institutions.

The topics covered are: (1) academic capitalism and types of orientation to profit; (2) the influence of neoliberalism, which is closely tied to political capitalism, despite its rhetoric, and relies on the use of political as well as market power to prioritize exchange-value over use-value in the economy and other areas of social life; and (3) the implications of different kinds of orientation to profit for the operations of the HE system and for universities as organizations in some of their core functions for society (certification, research, and critique) and in terms of their insertion into the circuits of productive, commercial and financial  capital. Based on the analysis of aggregated data about higher education in the USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan, and China, the article will also consider differences among national systems, and their integration into the global higher education system.
 
Bio note:
Bob Jessop is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Lancaster. After completing his PhD in Cambridge he has been working as a Research Fellow in Social and Political Sciences at Downing College, Cambridge, and as a researcher and teacher at the Department of Government at the University of Essex. From 2010 to 2013, he held a ESRC Research Professorship funded by the European Union. His work includes numerous books on state theory, globalisation, and the economy of culture, such as The Capitalist State (1982), The Future of the Capitalist State (2002), and Towards Cultural Political Economy: Putting Culture in its Place in Political Economy (2013, with Ngai-Ling Sum). His book Beyond the Regulation Approach: Putting the Capitalist Economy in its Place (2006, together with Ngai-Ling Sum) won the Gunnar Myrdal Prize of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy for the best book on political economy published in that year. His interests also include the analysis of economic and political imaginaries, involving work on the knowledge-based economy and finance-dominated accumulation.

Wednesday 27th January 2016, 5-6.30 pm
Seminar Speaker: Professor Gary McCulloch (Head of Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Brian Simon Professor of History of Education, UCL Institute of Education, University College London)
Convenor: Dr. Terri Kim (t.c.kim@uel.ac.uk)

Abstract:
This paper explores the nature of interdisciplinary approaches to educational studies, and the contributions made by the different disciplines in relation to these, with particular reference to the historical experience of the United Kingdom. It also addresses the nature, significance and impact of interdisciplinarity in defining common problems in education in a changing educational, social and political context. These aims raise significant prior issues of definition about what we mean by disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, and also about the social construction of ‘educational studies’. They have a great deal of potential for enhancing our understanding of this field - its past, its present and indeed its future – and for promoting its contribution to education and the wider society. 

Bio note:
Professor Gary McCulloch is the Brian Simon Professor of the History of Education at UCL Institute of Education. He is the head of the International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE) at the IOE, convenor of the British Educational Research Association History special interest group, and Editor of the British Journal of Educational Studies. His recent publications include The Struggle for the History of Education and (with Tom Woodin and Steven Cowan) Secondary Education and the Raising of the School Leaving Age. 

Wednesday 11th May 2016, 5-6.30 pm
Seminar Speaker: Professor Rosemary Deem (Vice Principal (Education) and Dean of Doctoral School, Royal Holloway, University of London)
Convenor: Dr. Terri Kim (t.c.kim@uel.ac.uk)

Abstract:
In this paper I explore the current situation with regard to gender and higher education in general and the position of women academics and students in the academy in particular, in the UK and Portugal. This is set in a context where a number of European governments began to impose significant spending cuts on public higher education following the Eurozone financial crisis of 2008. This crisis saw the widespread introduction of austerity regimes in European countries, either by external imposition due to banking failures and debt or due to internal political decisions or a combination of both.  I do not want to suggest that without this adverse economic situation, everything related to women’s equality in higher education would have been fine. There would still have been many challenges but austerity regimes work through ideology, by lowering morale (especially of public sector workers) and also by charging fees for higher education, reducing welfare benefits, cutting public services and raising unemployment.  These effects of austerity, I suggest, affect women in every aspect of their lives, from their presence in public service employment  (where they are often the predominant work force) to caring for young, sick and elderly dependants.  Austerity has not only affected the overall prospects for gender equality in Europe but has had many more specific negative effects, including  lowering the possibility of achieving more gender equality in European higher education.    But the argument is not a straightforward one, since ostensibly in many countries there appears to be a picture of female success.  In particular, the percentage of women students studying at first degree level in higher education is now above 50% of all undergraduates in most European countries (European Commission 2012).    Whilst this is a significant and positive development largely arising from the massification of higher education, it masks many other more troubling factors in those higher education systems to do with equality, ranging from sexual harassment, ‘laddism’ and violence on university campuses towards women, lesbians, gays,  bi-sexual and trans people and continued discrimination against women (and men) from ethnic minorities, women with disabilities, working class women, and people who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender, to underrepresentation of women students and staff in certain academic disciplines and in the senior leadership of universities and polytechnics.

Bio note:
Rosemary Deem is currently Vice Principal (Education), Dean of the Doctoral School and Professor of Higher Education Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.  When she joined Royal Holloway in 2009 it was as Dean of the Faculty of History and Social Sciences.  From 2001 until January 2009 she was Professor of Education, from 2004-6, Graduate Dean for Social Sciences and Law and from 2007-9, Research Director for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, all at the University of Bristol.  An Academician of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, Rosemary is a sociologist who has also worked at Loughborough, York, the Open and Lancaster Universities and the former North Staffordshire Polytechnic. At Lancaster she was Dean of Social Sciences (1994-7) and founding director of the University Graduate School (1998-2000). She was a UK Education Research Assessment Exercise sub-panellist in 1996, 2001 and 2008, has twice chaired the British Sociological Association, directed the UK Education Subject Centre ESCAlate from 2001-2004 and was Vice-Chair of the Society for Research into Higher Education from 2007- 2009.   In 2014 she chaired the Social Science Panel for the ESF/FCT Evaluation of R&D Centres in Portugal. She was joint editor of The Sociological Review 2001-5 and since 2013 she has been co-editor of the international journal Higher Education (Springer).  In 2013 she was appointed OBE for services to higher education and social sciences in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and in July 2014 Leicester University awarded her an honorary Doctorate for her academic contribution to the sociology of education.  In July 2015 she became the first woman to chair the UK Council for Graduate Education.  Her research interests include higher education policy, leadership, governance and management, public service modernisation and leadership development, research excellence evaluations and initiatives, inequality and diversity (particularly gender) in educational and other organizational settings, doctoral education and training, research and teaching relationships and the purposes of higher education.