I am a Visiting Fellow in the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln. I was previously a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Education at Anglia Ruskin University (2014-15). Prior to that, I was previously a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at the University of Northampton. My interests are in Marxist educational theory, the future of the human and social time. The Rikowski family web site, The Flow of Ideas can be found at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk,
My Wordpress blog, 'All that is Solid for Glenn Rikowski' is at: http://rikowski.wordpress.com,
Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski
Ruth Rikowski has written a substantial new article on Michael Jackson. She analyses the nature of his phenomenal talent, his personal life and personae and the social forces making for the tragedy of his ultimate demise. Ruth draws some parallels between the life and genius of Michael Jackson and Mozart.
Neil Southwell has updated his music website for Christmas! He has written two new Christmas songs: one for the pre-Christmas period and another one for the post-Christmas timeframe. There is also the snow song from when we had the unusually large amounts of snow last February – which is a bit Christmassy too! One of the Christmas songs can be downloaded, and, obviously, you can listen to the others.
In 1997, Michael Neary and I published an article in Capital & Class called ‘Working Schoolchildren in Britain Today’. It was concerned with the phenomenon of child labour in Britain and the legal framework underpinning it.
You can now download the article from the Capital & Class web site in PDF format.
I went to Housmans in Caledonian Road last Wednesday. It’s my favourite bookshop in London. The atmosphere more than anything else grabs me. Of course, I bought some books! I invested in Zones of Proletarian Development by Mastaneh Shah-Shuja (OpenMute, London, 2008) and the classic A Vindication of the Rights of Man by Mary Wollstonecraft.
If my readers come from outside of London and visit the capital, yes, you can visit the British Museum, the London Eye etc., but I would recommend a visit to Housmans too!
Ruth Rikowski’s 332nd News Update is now out. There are many exciting items, but one I am particularly interested in concerns the next MERD seminar.
The Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues (MERD) seminars were founded by Glenn Rikowski and Tony Green and were run by them both at the Institute of Education, University of London, from 2002-2007: MERDs I – X.
MERD XII is being convened by Joyce Canaan, Tony Green, my good friend Richard Hatcher and Alpesh Maisuria. It will take place at the University of London Institute of Education on Saturday 21st November 2009. Whilst it is great that this initial impetus is now being built on by Cannan, Green, Hatcher and Maisuria, it is unfortunate (and is historically misleading) that the publicity for MERD XII does not include this basic information about the founders, and where to obtain information about the first ten MERD seminars. As Ruth says: “Hopefully, this anomaly will be rectified in future publicity.”
A waiting list will come into operation when all the places have been allocated
Please forward this invite to those who may be interested
Convenors: Joyce Canaan and Richard Hatcher
The Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues (MERD) Seminars were founded by Tony Green (University of London, Institute of Education) and Glenn Rikowski in 2001. The first MERD Seminar was run at the Institute of Education in October 2002. For details on MERD Seminars 1-10, see: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=events&sub=MERD
Preface: I wrote this article three years ago and posted it to my AOL ‘Volumizer’ blog. AOL closed down all of its blogs and newsletters on 30th October 2008. Thus, I reproduce it here, on my birthday! Glenn Rikowski, London, 2nd May 2009.
It's my birthday today. I've always been very pleased about where my birthday falls: the day after May Day and just a few days before Karl Marx's birthday on 5th May. My parents did great on that!
Time has always been important for me too. My father was (and still is, when his health permits) a watchmaker and a clockmaker (he has made several clocks: long case and wall clocks). I was brought up surrounded by mechanical representations of time! Many years later (1997-1999) my research on the horological industry with The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers was one result of my engagement with horology. Another was the theoretical work (with Michael Neary) on Karl Marx's social time (see Neary and Rikowski, 2003). Indeed, I am due to give a talk on 'Karl Marx's Social Time' at one of the Birkbeck Seminars on 8th June.
This is just one way in which I have tried to bring together strands of my personal life, research, reading, writing and political activism. Of course, in relation to Marxist educational theory I have done this in a much more sustained and intense way than say, in relation to time or the future of the human. Yet some on the Left seem to have a problem with this; theory, activism and the personal are to be kept separate for them. Thus: when I bring in 'personal' issues and concerns I am being 'unacademic' or 'unscientific'. My accounts of my personal life diminish my purely 'academic' work and message, it appears. Neary and Taylor (1998) bring out what I aim to express in my writing very clearly. They stress that the struggle against the rule of capital is not just against institutonal forms of capitalist power but also against the contemporary form of:
"... human life itself, institutionalised as individual biography and personality. The struggle for human life is not, then, only in and against these alienated forms of power, e.g. in and against the state ... but also in and against life itself as biography or personality" (p.10 in Rikowski, 2004, p.567).
Communism is the struggle to create: '... new forms of personality and individual existence, as well as social relations and structures - unfettered by capital and the social phenomena needed to sustain its social universe' (Rikowski, 2004, p.567). I hope to reflect this point in my writing, research and life.
At the moment, of course, what I call education activism is difficult. Living in London and working in Northampton involves travelling a 1000 miles a week if I go up to Northampton five days a week. I try to avoid going up there every day; cramming as much into as few days as possible - so that my health does not suffer too much. Asthma has been a problem since Christmas, affecting my sleep in particular. But the drive up to Northampton gives me lots of time to think, whilst also cutting into my time for more active pursuits. Those who chide me for not getting more involved in this and in that campaign or issue separate activism from real personal and social existence, in my view. They ignore my 'Red Chalk Principle', too:
"What is the maximum damage I can do (given my biography, skills, talents, and physical health etc.) to the rule of capital? This question needs to be asked frequently, as the answer may change (perhaps many times) during the course of one's life" (in McLaren, 2001, p.3).
I am very much in survival mode these days; but this will change - eventually. We shall make sure of this.
I'm looking forward to MERD VIII at the Institute of Education tomorrow!
Happy Birthday to all those others whose birthday is also today!
McLaren, P. (2001) Gang of Five, Preface to M. Cole, D. Hill, G. Rikowski and P. McLaren, Red Chalk: On Schooling, Capitalism and Politics, Brighton: The Institute for Education Policy Studies.
Neary, M. & Rikowski, G. (2003) Time and Speed in the Social Universe of Capital, in: G. Crow and S. Heath (Eds.) Social Conceptions of Time: Structure and Process in Work and Everyday Life, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Neary, M. & Taylor, G. (1998) Money and the Human Condition, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
As those familiar my MySpace Blog, Wavering on Ether* will know, I am a keen fan of the music of Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson. I bought Wilson’s first solo album Insurgentes two days ago and have since been entranced by the music. I recommend most highly this album; not only to PT and Wilson followers but to all those that like beauty, towering craftsmanship, social edge, prescience, glorious dreams and images, and care and advanced skill with production in their music.
The words “musical genius” can sometimes be thrown around lightly. However, for me, they would not be misplaced regarding the works of Steven Wilson. Insurgentes includes the dynamic and kaleidoscopic percussion work of Gavin Harrison, and a most welcome contribution from Dave Stewart on one track.
Eighteen months ago, I wrote Fear of a Blank Planet Revisited. This was inspired by and, to some extent based on, the lyrics of Porcupine Tree’s Fear of a Blank Planet album. The article shows how the B Generation of policymakers and lawgivers have visited chaos and burdens on the youth of today**.
Steven Wilson’s MySpace Profile – where you can here clips from Insurgentes, the ‘Harmony Korine’ (a track from Insurgentes) video and an extract from the Insurgentes film, directed by Lasse Hoile: http://www.myspace.com/therealstevenwilson
Renewing Dialogues in Marxism and Education - Openings
By Anthony Green, Glenn Rikowski and Helen RaduntzPublished by Palgrave Macmillan (2008)
Endorsements for this book:
"This book demonstrates the continuing relevance and importance of Marxist analysis. There has been a significant, but until recently waning, tradition of neo-Marxist work in British educational studies. This collection announces a new beginning for this tradition. A very impressive set of contributors offer a series of theoretically sophisticated and substantively timely papers-papers which are rooted in solid scholarship and open debate. There is no doubt that this volume will attract considerable attention in the U.K., U.S. and elsewhere, and rightly so. It makes absolutely clear how necessary and constructively disruptive theory is!"—Stephen Ball, Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology and Education, Institute of Education, University of London. "Renewing Dialogues in Marxism and Education provides an intelligent summary of past perspectives, current dilemmas and future directions that, until now, has been available only across the dispersed articles and debates that were set in a state of steady boil by Green and Rikowski's path-breaking 'Renewing Dialogues' seminar series. The artful balance of theory, policy, politics, and empirical research has and will continue to expand the boundaries of Marxist Educational thinking. Its spirit originates in the classic dialectical relationship of undogmatic, open, critical thinking and an optimism that a better future is there for the making. Invaluable to researchers-Marxist or otherwise, the co-editors have produced a new 'must read' in the educational studies discipline."--Peter H. Sawchuk, Professor of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
"Green and Rikowski have assembled an impressive group of scholars to renew the dialogue around issues of Marxism and education. With a resurging international interest in Marxist theory and its relevance for our current situation in the shadows of neo-liberal economic policies and neo-conservative social policies, this book could not arrive at a more timely moment. This collection promises to offer some of the best analyses of contemporary educational policies and practices available anywhere."--David Gabbard, Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of East Carolina
"This is the sort of volume that educators striving for greater social justice should eagerly anticipate. Their work is rigorous, theoretically sophisticated and attests to their social commitment."--Peter Mayo, Professor, Sociology of Education and Adult Education, University of Malta and co-editor of Gramsci and Education, Liberating Praxis, and co-author of Learning and Social Difference"The 'Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues' seminars are one of the important–if not the most important–sites for the advancement and application of Marxist scholarship to the educational arena. This book will immediately become a key text for critical scholars with interests in: (1) Marxist educational thought; (2) the impact of globalization and neoliberalism on schooling, teaching, and learning; and (3) the discourses of postmodernism, poststructuralism and their intersections with Marxism. This collection of papers includes many of the key scholars in the field and will certainly generate broad interest among critical education scholars in the U.K., North America and the rest of the English-speaking world. The past decade has seen a rejuvenation of interest in Marxist scholarship in education, particularly in North America. Green and Rikowski's collection is perfectly timed and will surely become the subject of much attention when it appears, as it will be a key source for the cutting edge Marxist analysis and critique of contemporary educational policy and practice."--E. Wayne Ross, Professor, Department of Curriculum Studies, University of British Columbia
"Green and Rikowski have edited an extraordinary and timely book, one dedicated to explicating such key pedagogical issues as globalization, postmodernism, Marxism, and reform. It is a must read not only for critical educational scholars, but also for anyone interested in the meanings, statuses, and causes and effects of recent and historical developments in educational philosophy, policy, and practice—especially for those committed to democracy, democratic schooling, democratic social change, and social justice. In the end, Renewing Dialogues in Marxism and Education brings together the work of leading educational researchers in a remarkable and fundamentally new and exciting way."--Kevin Vinson, Associate Professor, College of Education, University of Arizona
"This volume is exactly the kind of re-encounter with Marxism that is needed by educational theorists at a time when neoliberalism is imperilling the public space of schooling-one of the last remaining public, genuinely civic spaces worldwide. The five parts of the volume seem to provide a perfect set of foci for the project that the editors want to carry out through this book. This will certainly be of great interest to academics studying globalization, as well as to activists, educators and educational theorists."--Imre Szeman, Senator William McMaster Professor of Globalization and Cultural Studies and Director of the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition and Associate Professor of English & Sociology, McMaster University