Devaluing the Value Form: Pulling on the Roots of Everyday Life to Get Beyond the Neo-Liberal University
The last few decades have been witness to the emergence of a new kind of university, the Neo-Liberal University. More than anything else, the Neo-liberal University reflects in myriad ways the logic and extension of the value-form, wherein knowledge is cast as a collection of measurable and interchangeable variables that can be almost mechanistically produced. As such, the work and rhythms inside the Neo-liberal University are intimately tied to the emergence and operation of a globalized and finance-based capitalism, one rooted in an American-led and informal empire as well as the everyday credit practices of workers throughout the world. To get beyond the Neo-liberal University requires first that we understand this political economy, which is the political economy of neo-liberalism. With such an understanding in tow, we can then work to undermine the logic of the value-form, the veil behind which Capital becomes ever more extensive and deeply embedded. And because the logic of value is absurd, there are myriad opportunities for parody, for strategies that can be effective at creating conditions for solidarity and for helping individuals deal with the pain associated with overcoming what Marcuse referred to as the "pleasant forms of control" to which we've grown accustomed.
Eric Newstadt is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at York University, Canada. His dissertation deals with the construction of quality and quality assessment in systems of higher education throughout the OECD, though with a focus on