Mute: Is the University a Factory?

Out now – Mute
Susan Kelly reviews Gerald Raunig’s recent book on the industrialisation of knowledge and creativity. She questions how accurate the metaphor of ‘factory’, with its associated figure of the wage-labourer, really is in these individualising and precarious times.

Nicely engaged piece… as the snippet below indicates…

“In reading Raunig’s book I was perhaps inevitably forced into a reckoning and a recounting of my own experiences of this same recent period of change in London. This experience of university occupations, temporary squats, waves of demonstrations, local borough politics, smaller micropolitical groups, and the Occupy movement as it was incarnated at St. Paul’s, was incredibly inspiring for many of us in this city. But it also painfully laid bare the depths and complexity of our entanglement – and complicity – in both the macro and micropolitical regimes of neoliberalism, our failure to make any real gains in these years as well as the intense battles we face if we are to get any traction in our struggles. In other words, I approach Raunig’s book not only through a theoretical reading, but also through a common grappling with these experiences of struggle and transformations.”

Read on

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About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK. As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Sampson has developed a number of funded research projects and public events that aim to bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach a series of local challenges. These activities have included large conferences co-organized with local authorities looking at a range of policies relating to the revitalization of the Essex costal region, developments in the cultural industries as well as a series of community focused events on food cultures and policy, collaborations with arts groups and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres. Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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