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Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism

Creativity and the Promise of Openness


Michael A. Peters

We live in the age of global science – but not, primarily, in the sense of ‘universal knowledge’ that has characterized the liberal metanarrative of ‘free’ science and the ‘free society’ since its early development in the Enlightenment. Today, an economic logic links science to national economic policy, while globalized multinational science dominates an environment where quality assurance replaces truth as the new regulative ideal. This book examines the nature of educational and science-based capitalism in its cybernetic, knowledge, algorithmic and bioinformational forms before turning to the emergence of the global science system and the promise of openness in the growth of international research collaboration, the development of the global knowledge commons and the rise of the open science economy. Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism explores the nature of cognitive capitalism, the emerging mode of social production for public education and science and its promise for the democratization of knowledge.
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Preface and Acknowledgments


These essays were written over the last few years around the themes that I have tried to bring together in one book: New Forms of Educational Capitalism and The Emergence of the Global Science System and the Promise of Openness. I have brought these two themes together because the educational history of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries seems undeniably to signal the marketization, privatization and commercialization of knowledge and knowledge institutions and the best hope we have for reviving the public nature of institutions, of preserving the notion of public space and developing global civil society seems to me the promise inherent in forms of openness, especially as they are manifested in science, education and government. Openness is oriented toward change and experiment, collaboration and sharing, tolerance and the acceptance of criticism. It is one of the best hopes I believe for a non-hegemonic world. In the first part I outline some of the main forms of educational capitalism that point toward the future: biocapitalism, bioinformationalism, eco- or green capitalism, algorithmic capitalism. In the second half I try to develop a conception that demonstrates the promise of openness in realtion to the emerging global science and educational systems. I apologize in advance for overlaps among these articles.

My thanks to my coauthors of various chapters. Rodrigo Britez and Ergin Bulut were PhD students at the University of Illinois with whom I worked closely during the six years I was there. I enjoyed their company and relish...

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