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The Production of Living Knowledge

The Crisis of the University and the Transformation of Labor in Europe and North America

Gigi Roggero

Publication Year: 2011

Evaluating higher education institutions—particularly the rise of the “global university”—and their rapidly changing role in the global era, Gigi Roggero finds the system in crisis. In his groundbreaking book, The Production of Living Knowledge, Roggero examines the university system as a key site of conflict and transformation within “cognitive capitalism”—a regime in which knowledge has become increasingly central to the production process at large. Based on extensive fieldwork carried out through the activist method of conricerca, or “co-research,” wherein researchers are also subjects, Roggero’s book situates the crisis of the university and the changing composition of its labor force against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.

Combining a discussion of radical experiments in education, new student movements, and autonomist Marxian (or post-operaista) social theory, Roggero produces a distinctly transnational and methodologically innovative critique of the global university from the perspective of what he calls “living knowledge.”

In light of new student struggles in the United States and across the world, this first English-language edition is particularly timely.

Published by: Temple University Press


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Translator’s Foreword: Cognitive Capitalism and the University

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pp. vii-xiii

What is the status of the university in an era when knowledge, communication, culture, and affect have been “put to work” with unprecedented intensity? This is the question that Gigi Roggero’s text confronts, beginning with the premise that it is impossible to grasp the contemporary...


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pp. xv-xvi

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Introduction: Living on the Borders

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pp. 1-13

Neoliberalism is finished. This does not mean that the effects of neoliberal politics have disappeared but that they are no longer able to constitute a coherent system. In this context it can be difficult to remember that just twenty years ago the think tanks of global capital had proclaimed...

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1. The Future Is Archaic

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pp. 15-29

To go beyond—that is both the ambitious objective and the substantial problematic of this book. It requires taking as one’s point of departure an ample history of research and theoretical formulation that, with different emphases and sometimes different perspectives, has often been...

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2. Coordinates of Capitalist Transition

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pp. 31-59

Everything is “post.” This was, midway through the 1980s, for Beck, the point of departure and the challenge faced in the analysis of the “risk society”:1 only by offering the outlines of a positive definition of the transformation in progress could a “beyond” be spoken of. ...

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3. Corporatization of the University: Rhetoric, Trends, Actuality

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pp. 61-85

If knowledge, culture, and language have become the prism through which to read the transformations of production, then systems of higher education can be considered a privileged observatory from which to analyze these dynamics given their status as “incubators of innovation”1...

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4. The Production of Living Knowledge

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pp. 87-111

Who are the subjects of the production of knowledge? Theorists of the “wealth of networks,” of the “digital utopia” and of “anarcho-capitalism”1—from Pekka Himanen to the already-cited Benkler—have described a weakening of capitalist dominion, at least in its...

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5. Borders and Lines of Flight: The Institutions of the Common

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pp. 113-133

To trace the genealogy of flexibility and the “new anthropology” of cognitive labor back through the transformations of class composition and the struggles that led to the crisis of “Fordism,” rather than seeing such labor as unilaterally imposed by capital, goes against a significant portion...

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6. Brief Observations on Method: The Production of Knowledge and Conricerca

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pp. 135-141

Three dichotomies, according to the Italian sociologist Michele La Rosa,1 have historically traversed sociological research: the rigid division between disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, between theory and praxis, and between totality and specificity, or, rather, between macro and micro. ...

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Conclusion: The Time of the Common

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pp. 143-159

NyU’s first building was erected in 1835 in Washington square, in the heart of Greenwich village. Its marble came from the unwaged labor of sing sing prisoners. Against this widespread practice, the year before, the stonemasons had attacked the buildings of the subcontracting company...


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pp. 161-190

Index [Includes About the Author]

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pp. 191-194

E-ISBN-13: 9781439905753
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439905746

Page Count: 214
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 756484106
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Production of Living Knowledge

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Education, Higher -- Aims and objectives -- Europe.
  • Education, Higher -- Economic aspects -- North America.
  • Education, Higher -- Economic aspects -- Europe.
  • Labor productivity -- Effect of education on -- North America.
  • Labor productivity -- Effect of education on -- Europe.
  • Educational change -- North America.
  • Educational change -- Europe.
  • Education, Higher -- Aims and objectives -- North America.
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