The Assault on Universities

The Assault on Universities : A Manifesto for Resistance

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With funding cuts well under way and many institutions already promising to charge the maximum 9,000 pounds yearly tuition fee, university education for the majority is under threat. This book exposes the true motives behind the government's programme and provides the analytical tools to fight it.

Widespread student protests and occupations, often supported by staff, unions and society at large, show the public's opposition to funding cuts and fee increases. The contributors to this sharp, well-written collection, many of whom are active participants in the anti-cuts movement, outline what's at stake and why it matters. They argue that university education is becoming increasingly skewed towards vocational degrees, which devalues the arts and social sciences - subjects that allow creativity and political inquiry to flourish.

Released at the beginning of the new academic year, this book will be at the heart of debates around the future of higher education in the UK and beyond, inspiring both new and seasoned activists in the fight for the soul of our universities.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 7.62mm | 204.12g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745331912
  • 9780745331911
  • 658,683

Table of contents


1. An Introduction to Education Reform and Resistance by Des Freedman


2. The Idea of the University by John K. Walton

3. What is a University Education For? by Neil Faulkner

4. Fighting for the University's Life by Nick Couldry


5. Economic Alternatives in the Current Crisis by Aeron Davis

6. Re-Imagining the Public Good by Jon Nixon

7. The War Against Democracy and Education by Nick Stevenson


8. The University as a Political Space by Alberto Toscano

9. The Academic as Truth-Teller by Michael Bailey

10. Impoverished Pedagogy, Privatised Practice by Natalie Fenton


11. Students Revolts Then and Now by John Rees

12. The Politics of Occupation by Feyzi Ismail

13. Achievements and Limitations of the UK Student Movement by Ashok Kumar


14. Beyond the Swindle of the Corporate University by Henry A. Giroux

15. Education Reforms in a European Context by Marion von Osten

16. International Students and the Globalisation of Higher Education by Kirsten Forkert


Demands on Government

Demands on Universities

Signatories to the Manifesto

Notes on contributors

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Review quote

'A valuable contribution to ongoing global conversations about the possibilities of social, political and economic justice and the central role of cultural institutions and practices, especially education, in them' -- Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 'A timely and astute defence of the university that breaks free from the unimaginative pattern that can see education as only either a corporate or a private good. The manifesto shows what can be done to revive and expand our universities restoring their social mission' -- Professor Paul Gilroy, London School of Economics 'Universities are the new front line in the battle between the market and society. Students are being groomed for a life of debt on a learn-to-earn treadmill. Campuses are being commercialised at every turn. The Assault on Universities tells the story of what's happening to higher education, why and what we do about it' -- Neal Lawson, chair of Compass and author of All Consuming 'This is an essential book. The future of our universities is up for grabs and the manifesto will play a huge role in providing alternatives at a time when the government says there aren't any' -- Clare Solomon, President of the University of London Union (ULU) and editor of Springtime (2011) 'The corporatising of universal education is one of the most insidious and dangerous attacks on the very notion of human rights. This book calls us to arms. Every student, every educator who cares should read it' -- John Pilger
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About Michael Bailey

Michael Bailey is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex. He is the co-editor of The Assault on Universities (Pluto, 2011), Mediating Faiths (Routledge, 2011) and Narrating Media History (Routledge, 2008). He has held visiting fellowships at Goldsmiths, the LSE and the University of Cambridge. Des Freedman Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London and an editor of the journal Global Media and Communication. He is the co-editor of The Assault on Universities (Pluto, 2011), and author of The Politics of Media Policy (Polity, 2008), Television Policies of the Labour Party (Routledge, 2003) and War and the Media (Sage, 2003).
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