The university in the sky and the university between the cracks? Using social media to liberate networks, defend academic values and transform higher education

Core academic values are profoundly imperilled by the government’s higher education ‘reforms’. In this presentation I engage with the theoretical question of what these values are, as well as how they are threatened, as a basis for formulating strategies for their defence.

I argue for the need to distinguish between the cultural and structural dimensions to the university system: between networked actors and the institutional settings they confront. Academic values exist relationally within the former and are systemically undermined by the latter.

Strategic responses must focus on the cultural, using social media to increase the autonomy of academic networks vis-à-vis academic institutions, as a means to sustain academic ideals and cultivate the conditions for both resistance and transformation. I discuss a range of radical educational projects as case studies, arguing that their emancipatory potential rests upon their embrace of the technologically-infused communicative ecology of liquid modernity.

My abstract for this conference. I actually quite want to write this now, even though the conference isn’t till September, given how obsessively I’ve been pondering this for months now.