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Fighting Academic Repression and Neoliberal Education

Resistance, Reclaiming, Organizing, and Black Lives Matter in Education

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Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II and Erik Juergensmeyer

Fighting Academic Repression and Neoliberal Education is a cutting-edge investigation of the alarming state of education today. This practical how-to handbook gives readers tactics and strategies to organize and challenge forces that threaten liberatory critical education. Drawn from scholars and activists from across the world, the fifteen chapters guide readers through a strategic method of understanding the academic industrial complex and corporate education in the twenty-first century. Education is being hijacked by banks and corporations that are tearing apart the foundational fabric of academic freedom, resulting in mass standardized education and debt for all students and furthering racial inequity. This is a must-read for anyone interested in democracy, education, social justice, critical pedagogy, and Black Lives Matter.

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5. Cutting Class: On Schoolwork, Entropy, and Everyday Resistance in Higher Education (Conor Cash / Geoff Boyce)

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CHAPTER  FIVE

Cutting Class: On Schoolwork, Entropy, and Everyday Resistance in Higher Education

CONOR CASH AND GEOFF BOYCE

 

INTRODUCTION

Education is a ubiquitous category in political and development discourses, variously discussed as a panacea for social disorders; a one true church of enlightenment; the means for advancement for the disadvantaged; and an as-of-yet unrealized system for optimum socialization. In the United States, and much of the Western colonial world, education is pursued through the institution of schooling, which encloses learning within a system of centralized meritocratic administration, requiring continuous assessment, evaluation, and policing that incentivizes specific norms of behavior and penalizes those unable or unwilling to comport to these norms. For these reasons, this chapter argues that rather than an exogenous force threatening the institution (Del Gandio, 2013; Hodge, 2013), or a deviation from an historical norm (Giroux, 2010), repression is foundational to the academy and constitutes one of its primary functions within capitalist modernity.

This position is founded on the assertion that schoolwork is an exploitative labor process for both the instructor and the student—its object the production not of an educated populace but of productive and compliant subjects. For the student, it is at once an unpaid labor process adding value to future labor power (Cleaver, 2004); a disciplinary process in which habits of mind and body are cultivated (Foucault, 1979); and a sorting process that identifies readiness for work (Caffentzis,...

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