Paper short abstract:
This paper looks to develop a response to growing concerns around the future of the University, and to think more deeply about academic work as more than the esoteric "production of knowledge", but also as forms of social reproduction.
Paper long abstract:
Last year saw the largest industrial action in Higher Education occur through the UCU pension dispute. As noted particularly by Jamie Woodcock this strike was a convergence of many differing concerns within the industry. The increased intensity of competition within the academy cannot be delinked from the looming spectre of scarcity that haunts the halls and offices of our institutions. Where can one look to develop a response to growing concerns around the future of the University? How can we think more deeply about academic production as not simply the esoteric "production of knowledge", but also forms of social reproduction?
This paper explores situating an "ethics of generosity" within a politics of responsibility for the institutions in which we work. Re-engaging ourselves in the academy as workers, calls for a process of inquiry into the wider composition of our institutions if we are to understand where struggle against increasing "value-for-money" managerialism, budgetary scarcity, and racism may emerge from. Through drawing upon experience organising with outsourced and predominantly BAME workers on university campuses, I explore what can be learned from these workers' demands, and how it may open up sites of intervention into how the University comes to be reproduced. I argue that the struggle for space and time within the institution becomes intimately linked with an ethics of generosity and care. By engaging with the material conditions of the University as a workplace, we are able to re-approach the "production of knowledge" with a renewed sense of common purpose.
Generosity and analysis