Friday, 29 March 2013

Ruth Rikowski's 53rd News Update

A selection of news items from me are listed below.

FEB 2013
Glenn took part in a debate on the privatisation of education, which was held at the University of East London, Cass School of Education & Communities on February 13th 2013.

The debate was on the theme ‘Education for Sale?’, on the privatisation of education.

The Panellists were:

Dr Glenn Rikowski (University of Northampton)
Professor John Schostak (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Professor James Tooley (University of Newcastle)
Dr Patricia Walker (University of East London and Labour Councillor for Action).

It was Chaired by Claire Fox, Director, Institute of Ideas

Glenn argued that:

“As long as capitalist society exists, representatives of capital will try to ‘find a way’ to capitalise educational institutions. It’s a never-ending struggle in capitalism.”

It proved to be a very successful event. There were some 90 people there and there was a good discussion. The event was recorded and photos were taken.

The event was also reported in the ‘Time Higher Education Supplement’, by David Matthews, on 19th February 2013. The piece was entitled: ‘Beware the student employability agenda, debate hears’ and Glenn was quoted in it. Here is the link:

This has been a topic in some previous newsletters of mine. I want to continue the theme here and highlight some of the other ways in which Glenn Rikowski has really helped to put ‘Marxism and Education’ on the map, and indeed, changed the landscape for ever in various ways and made it all far more respectable. Many people are now proud to hold their heads up high and call themselves ‘Marxist Educators’ ; there is now a firmly established network and much really valuable material out there now on the subject.

So, what were some of the other things that Glenn Rikowski did then, to help to put Marxist Educators on the map in this way?
Well, it was whilst he was working as a Researcher at Birmingham University (1994-1999) that he built up a large Marxist Educators network. Glenn built this up through his hard work, enthusiasm, determination and willingness to take the necessary risks.

The network continues to grow and there must now be a few hundred people around the globe. These include, for example, Sarah Amsler, Joyce Canann, Sarah Carpenter, Mike Cole, Helen Colley, David Harvie, Dave Hill, Peter McLaren, Greg Martin, Alpesh Maisuria, Curry Malott, Peter Mayo, Shahrzad Mojab, Mike Neary, Helen Raduntz, Spyros Themilis … to name but a very small handful.

Leading on from this, Glenn helped Dave Hill in the early stages to set up his free ejournal, ‘Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies’, back in March 2003, as many of the people from the Marxist Educators network went on to go on the Editorial Board of Dave’s journal. So, he has been very much at the forefront here, when it comes to Open Access. And of course, this is the direction that the academic writing world is going anyway; with the government now stipulating that all academic publications must be freely and openly available online.

Glenn also had a big influence on Peter McLaren’s thinking and helped to bring Peter back from Postmoderism to Marxism in the mid to late 1990s.

Glenn also personally helped some left/Marxist people to get Professorships;
this included Shahrzad Mojab and Peter Mayo. Also through his contact
with Paula Allman, Sarah Carpenter, Helen Colley, Rachel Gorman and
Shahrzad Mojab he played some small part in assisting with the Marxist
Feminist cause.

Indeed, it was wonderful to see that many people on the left in
Education in general, as well as Marxist Educators specifically,
went on to get Professorships. These people include: Dave Hill,
Mike Cole, Pat Ainley, Joyce Canaan and Richard Hatcher, to
name but a few. In fact, virtually all the members of the Hilcole
Group (the group of radical left eductors) now have Professorships.

However, since the death of his father (in early 2009) Glenn has not been
able to work much in this area. But he is still playing a part in helping to
keep things moving through his ‘All that is Solid for Glenn Rikowski’ blog –

Glenn has also been very much about developing Marxist Educational theory
and indeed, he will be developing this further in future years.

An important issue on the topic of ‘Gender and Employment in Times of Economic Crisis’ (with a theoretical and empirical perspective) edited by Dionysios Gouvias was published in the Journal of Critical Studies in Business and Society ( in 2012 (Vol 3, No 1). ISSN 1986 1575.
The journal is published by the European University of Cyprus (

The issue considered the impact of the global economic crisis, which started in the USA financial markets in 2008, on gender and employment. All the papers apart from one (which examined gender inequalities in academia in Australian and Swedish universities) focused on the situation in Greece. Many valuable lessons can be drawn. Dionysios Gouvias concludes his introduction saying that he hopes that the papers will provide:

“…a critical view of certain ‘orthodoxies’, in the sense that they are taken for granted and are ‘naturalised’ in public discourses in such a way as to start becoming a ‘non ideological common sense’ “.

Dionysios Gouvias, at the University of the Aegean, Greece, invited me to contribute to this issue, asking me if I would like to write something about the work of female IT professionals. However, although I thought that it sounded like a very interesting project, I had to decline, as I was heavily involved (and indeed, still am) in another project at the time.

It is good to see that the issue is now out and includes a variety of very interesting articles. These are listed below:

Introduction by Dionysios Gouvias

The Crisis and Women’s Economic Independence: some Warnings from Greece by Antigone Lyberaki

Women, Rights and the Crisis in Greece Today by Maria Gasouka

Female Unemployment in Greece, in times of crisis - the case of Rhodes and the subsidised placement schemes for unemployed women by Dionysios Gouvias and Eleftherios Michail

Horizontal and Vertical Gender Segregation in the ICT sector: a Greek Case Study by Ilias Efthymiou, Chryssi Vitsilakis and Dimitrios Gakis

Gender, social inequalities and the transition of graduates to the labour market under crisis conditions by Eleni Sianou-Kyrgiou

Gender Pay Equity Reviews in Australian and Swedish Universities: Are They an Impetus for Change? by Jan Currie

4. ‘HIGHER EDUCATION MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONAL RESEARCH: demonstrating new practices and metaphors’ – edited by GARY BELL, JON WARWICK AND PETER GALBRAITH. SENSE PUBLISHERS: Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2012.
ISBN: 978 94 6091 974 9 (pbk); 978 94 6091 975 6 (hdbk).
Part of Series: Educational Futures:
Rethinking Theory and Practice, Vol 55
Another colleague of mine, Gary Bell, that I got to know at a one-day conference at London South Bank University a few years ago has recently now got his first book published. This all emanated from a conversation we had at the conference, after I saw Gary’s presentation and I could see that he was someone that was keen on research and writing. At the time, he was new to the publishing world, but he was keen to write and publish, so I put him in touch with some of my contacts.

The result of all of this was that he got a contract with Sense Publishing and the book (edited with 2 other academics, Jon Warwick and Peter Galbraith), ‘Higher Education Management and Operational Research’ was published last year.

As it says on the flyer for the book:

“The book aims to explore ‘new perspectives’ in HE management thinking and to describe and illustrate the use of OR methodologies, methods and techniques in helping HE managers to make informed management decisions.”

The books is divided into 4 parts: Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Context of the Evolving Higher Education Environment; Part 3: Managing Student Learning and Support and Part 4: Managing the Business of Higher Education.

I wish Gary, Jon and Peter all the very best with their book.

Gregory is now getting along well in his degree at the University of East Anglia. This has really been helped by the inclusion of some Philosophy in his degree, which he is really loving. He is currently studying a module on the  ‘Enlightenment period’. So the Philosophy will give some depth to his Film Studies degree and will help to provide a more holistic picture.

So, once again, where would we be without Philosophy: the bedrock, the grounding, the solid basis?

Also, UEA are being very supportive in general, and we are very appreciative of this.

Whereas, on the other hand, Alexander decided that Law definitely was not for him, so he has withdrawn from the course and will now be thinking again!

There are 4 new items up on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog. These are:
‘Emotional Geology‘, ‘Education for Sale?’, ‘The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (also on our website – see and ‘Fiction Write-Ups.

Happy Easter and Best Wishes from,


28th March 2013

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