Public sociology and social movements: Incorporation or a war of position?
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Scandrett, E. & Ballantyne, E. (2019) Public sociology and social movements: Incorporation or a war of position? In: Breeze, M., Taylor, Y. & Costa, C. (eds.) Time and space in the neoliberal university: Futures and fractures in higher education. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 169-190.
Activist academics have attempted to challenge neoliberalism in higher education through pedagogical and research engagement with social movements. This chapter draws on the experience of working with movements against violence against women; for environmental justice; and Mad studies. It makes use of Ettore Gelpi’s conception of Lifelong Education to analyse the practice of social movement engagement as a dialectical relation of knowledge exchange, which seeks to expose and transform social contradictions. However, such engagement also risks hegemonic incorporation of social movements by the neoliberal university. The authors argue that Gramsci’s concept of ‘war of position’ helps to discern such risks, and that such pedagogy can constitute a defence against neoliberal attacks on social movements, as well as providing opportunities to challenge neoliberal hegemony in the university.