- Aug 2018
In this consumerist-led version of proletarianization, which is very per-tinent to what is happening with the commodification of higher educa-tion, the argument is that ‘consumers are “discharged” of the burden as well as the responsibility of shaping their own lives and are reduced to units of buying power controlled by marketing techniques’ (p. 34). For example, in rating and ranking scales and league tables, marketing agencies have essentially appropriated the decision-making process from students and their parents. Today’s ‘cognitive capitalism’, Lemmens says, is producing the ‘systematic destruction of knowledge and the knowing subject’ (p. 34), in what Stiegler calls the ‘systematic industri-alization of human memory and cognition’ (p. 34). As Stiegler (2010b) cryptically puts it, what is at stake is ‘the battle for intelligence’ (p. 35) which had its most recent genesis in the ‘psychopathologies and addic-tive ‘behavior patterns’ (Lemmens 2011, p. 34) brought about by the ‘logic of the market’ ushered in by Thatcher and supported by Reagan. This unleashed ‘a cultural and spiritual regression of unprecedented magnitude, transforming the whole of society into a machine for profit maximization and creating a state of “system carelessness” and “systemic stupidity” on a global scale’ (p. 34). It is literally ‘a global struggle for the mind’ in a context where there is an erasure of ‘consciousness and sociality’ (p. 35)
Draws on labour process theory and the work of Stiegler to conceptualise the de-professionalisation of academic workers and their proletarianisation. This relates to the arguments about how economic rationales have colonised all areas of social life.
This seems to mirror similar arguments put forward by Nikolas Rose and Michel Dean and other post-structuralists such as drawing on Foucault's governmentality