“There was no golden age. When the university had relative autonomy from capitalist discipline, it was, undeniably, an elitist institution. In the 1950s and 60s, between 4% and 8% of the population went to university. Mass access has gone hand-in-hand with the restriction of academic freedom, the imposition of ever-more assessment, spiralling debts, outsourcing and attrition of support staff, transformation of universities into nodes in the circulation of finance capital, and the transferring of teaching to casualised Associate Tutors on zero-hours contracts for sub-minimum wage. Indeed, a whole piece could be written on the political economy of idealism, whereby young, enthusiastic PhD candidates are enticed to provide cheap labour as an apprenticeship for secure academic jobs which are rapidly disappearing.
“In short, the ‘real subsumption’ of the university. The price of increasing university access from 4% to over 40% of the population is that feudal institutions have become capitalist.”
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