Teaching What We (Preach and) Practice: The MA in Activism and Social Change
AbstractIn the search for strategies that work in the continued fight against the corporate takeover of education and in taking solidarity with oppressed peoples, this short article reports back to fellow academics, action researchers and other activists on the first year of a brand new Masters programme dedicated to campaigning and social change. It argues that in the present neoliberal context, teaching radical politics and encouraging students to engage with social movements and struggles as part of their studies is vital, both to stop the further corporate takeover of higher education and to generate new ideas and solutions for emancipatory politics. Following a brief introduction to the broad processes of neoliberalisation underway, the article provides a glimpse into the commodification project enclosing university education through the journey of the MA course. I then set out the main aims and structure of the MA, recount some of the experiences so far and respond to some of the main and recurring “criticisms” by activists towards the course. In conclusion, the paper argues that while there are many problems with setting up a Masters programme in “activism”, the course team is unapologetically committed to using education for social change.
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