I am a Visiting Fellow in the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln. I was previously a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Education at Anglia Ruskin University (2014-15). Prior to that, I was previously a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at the University of Northampton. My interests are in Marxist educational theory, the future of the human and social time. The Rikowski family web site, The Flow of Ideas can be found at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk,
My Wordpress blog, 'All that is Solid for Glenn Rikowski' is at: http://rikowski.wordpress.com,
Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski
Preface: I wrote this article three years ago and posted it to my AOL ‘Volumizer’ blog. AOL closed down all of its blogs and newsletters on 30th October 2008. Thus, I reproduce it here, on my birthday! Glenn Rikowski, London, 2nd May 2009.
It's my birthday today. I've always been very pleased about where my birthday falls: the day after May Day and just a few days before Karl Marx's birthday on 5th May. My parents did great on that!
Time has always been important for me too. My father was (and still is, when his health permits) a watchmaker and a clockmaker (he has made several clocks: long case and wall clocks). I was brought up surrounded by mechanical representations of time! Many years later (1997-1999) my research on the horological industry with The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers was one result of my engagement with horology. Another was the theoretical work (with Michael Neary) on Karl Marx's social time (see Neary and Rikowski, 2003). Indeed, I am due to give a talk on 'Karl Marx's Social Time' at one of the Birkbeck Seminars on 8th June.
This is just one way in which I have tried to bring together strands of my personal life, research, reading, writing and political activism. Of course, in relation to Marxist educational theory I have done this in a much more sustained and intense way than say, in relation to time or the future of the human. Yet some on the Left seem to have a problem with this; theory, activism and the personal are to be kept separate for them. Thus: when I bring in 'personal' issues and concerns I am being 'unacademic' or 'unscientific'. My accounts of my personal life diminish my purely 'academic' work and message, it appears. Neary and Taylor (1998) bring out what I aim to express in my writing very clearly. They stress that the struggle against the rule of capital is not just against institutonal forms of capitalist power but also against the contemporary form of:
"... human life itself, institutionalised as individual biography and personality. The struggle for human life is not, then, only in and against these alienated forms of power, e.g. in and against the state ... but also in and against life itself as biography or personality" (p.10 in Rikowski, 2004, p.567).
Communism is the struggle to create: '... new forms of personality and individual existence, as well as social relations and structures - unfettered by capital and the social phenomena needed to sustain its social universe' (Rikowski, 2004, p.567). I hope to reflect this point in my writing, research and life.
At the moment, of course, what I call education activism is difficult. Living in London and working in Northampton involves travelling a 1000 miles a week if I go up to Northampton five days a week. I try to avoid going up there every day; cramming as much into as few days as possible - so that my health does not suffer too much. Asthma has been a problem since Christmas, affecting my sleep in particular. But the drive up to Northampton gives me lots of time to think, whilst also cutting into my time for more active pursuits. Those who chide me for not getting more involved in this and in that campaign or issue separate activism from real personal and social existence, in my view. They ignore my 'Red Chalk Principle', too:
"What is the maximum damage I can do (given my biography, skills, talents, and physical health etc.) to the rule of capital? This question needs to be asked frequently, as the answer may change (perhaps many times) during the course of one's life" (in McLaren, 2001, p.3).
I am very much in survival mode these days; but this will change - eventually. We shall make sure of this.
I'm looking forward to MERD VIII at the Institute of Education tomorrow!
Happy Birthday to all those others whose birthday is also today!
McLaren, P. (2001) Gang of Five, Preface to M. Cole, D. Hill, G. Rikowski and P. McLaren, Red Chalk: On Schooling, Capitalism and Politics, Brighton: The Institute for Education Policy Studies.
Neary, M. & Rikowski, G. (2003) Time and Speed in the Social Universe of Capital, in: G. Crow and S. Heath (Eds.) Social Conceptions of Time: Structure and Process in Work and Everyday Life, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Neary, M. & Taylor, G. (1998) Money and the Human Condition, Basingstoke: Macmillan.