Education as a Commons


We have started this new series as the topic of education and academia was where the previous series (Elephant) left off. Also due to the present financial circumstances in the UK (whether you believe they are inflicted or consequential) we have been presented with a change and in a positive sense an opportunity to actively be a part of it and so influence it.

But most importantly perhaps is that as most of us in our School are Anthropologists, and we are asked to question our assumptions and not take anything for granted, so it is then of prime importance to start doing that with the community we find ourselves in at Kent.

And finally in more broader terms, we aim to become more LITERATE IN EDUCATION, so we can assume agency over the aspect of the educational process we are a part of.

We kicked off with ‘Introduction to Education’ which you can see all the details for here

This will be a special session open to all but especially dedicated those actively involved in teaching others in an institutional sense – whether a postgrad seminar leader or professor.

The premise is this:

One might be happy the way education is going (especially from a Commons perspective); as more resources in the form of recorded lectures, books, articles, materials etc are shared online and so are more accessible to more people.

However I want to ask; does this not mean then that a ‘privatisation’ (enclosure) based state system in which we live, can take the opportunity of this to appear to be fulfilling its obligations of proving the right to education, but actually using it as a cheaper way to supply education but in doing so not have to supply the other main part of education – teaching, face-to-face, the actual education?

So, should we not then define what this non-tangible part of education is so that it is not marginalized more and more, (until we are treated merely as information processing units).

Our challenge to everyone was then going to be to work towards a definition, and in doing so provide an identity which leads to a better basis from which to empower and better ‘something’ within the system we find ourselves in.

HOWEVER, in an intro lecture, Dr. Melissa Demian mentioned something – ‘we have been told that we are delivering the student experience, not teaching’, and then we realised that PERHAPS our question was answered from one perspective??? but then does that not also mean the non-physical-tangible part of education (teaching, education, what I mentioned earlier) has already been enclosed, and so now can be easily and quickly commodified further.

To provide people with an appropriate literacy and vocabulary to talk about this we have selected a Commons perspective as most appropriate (not only because if you haven’t realized that is the main paradigm in which non-privatized educational changes are happening). So we ask people to please use a moment of their time to do some homework before coming.

The homework is simply to watch a radical and invaluable lecture found here –