Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues XII

Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues XII
From Critique to Contestation

A Day Seminar

10.00– 4.30, Saturday July 4th 2009
Birmingham City University
Perry Barr, B42 2SU
Attwood Building
Room: 044

This is to announce: the 12th Marxism and Education: Renewing Dialogues (MERD) Seminar

We will be focusing upon: Current Issues in Marxist Education Research

We are pleased to confirm the following line-up of speakers:
Andrea Beckmann, Charlie Cooper, Richard Hatcher, Ken Jones, and Gurnam Singh

More information on paper titles and details of the timetable will be sent to you in due course.

The seminar is free but places are limited.

To reserve a place and receive a numbered ticket, please contact Joyce Canaan at:

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:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski
The Flow of Ideas:
All that is Solid:

Monday, May 11, 2009

What is a University?

What is a University? Explaining the Rise of Universities in Medieval Europe

This is an essay by Michaela Starkey, a first year Education Studies student in the School of Education at the University of Northampton.

It has been published on 'The Flow of Ideas' web site.

You can view Michaela's essay at:

Referenced as:

Starkey, M. (2009) What is a University? Explaining the Rise of Universities in Medieval Europe, Education Studies, School of Education, University of Northampton, online at:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski
The Flow of Ideas:
The Ockress:
All that is Solid:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's My Birthday

It's My Birthday

Glenn Rikowski, London, 2nd May 2006

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.

Rikowski, G. (2004) Marx and the Education of the Future, Policy Futures in Education, Vol.2 Nos. 3 & 4, pp.565-577. Online at: