Is the University a Factory?

” For others still, student life is taken up with both part-time work and a succession of unpaid internships in cultural institutions, fashion houses, PR firms, media organisations and so on, in the hope that this ‘experience’ will translate into paid work on graduation. While we may lament the shift from university as a protected time in life where experiments in thought, knowledge and other ways of living can take place, to a period of study that is utterly instrumentalised for the job that comes after and makes good the debt, the reality in many universities today is that even this sequencing of life phases no longer holds true. For many arts and humanities graduates, the time of university and of work completely coincide. Often, the minimum wage service sector job held during the student period simply becomes more full-time upon graduation, or the student internship leads to yet more internships and service work on graduation. Perhaps proposing the university as factory in this context could do more to bring in an analysis of the working and studying patterns of these students of the new debt regime, where the worlds of learning and labour (both paid and unpaid) are intertwined like never before.”

Is the University a Factory?

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