Academic Activism in the Face of Enclosure in the Digital University




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Symposium Journals Ltd



Peer reviewed


The role of the academic, both inside and beyond the University, is under scrutiny across global higher education. In-part this is tied to the neoliberal agenda for universities, which is underpinned by a discourse of marketisation and commodification. In-part it is amplified by the production and use of digital technologies, and the contested nature of those technologies in reproducing or re-inscribing existing practices. One emerging area of interest is the role of digital technology in academic futures, especially in a world of increasing complexity and disruption. In future scenarios that are disrupted by socio-environmental crises like peak oil and climate change, the development of individual and social resilience, or the ability to adapt to such disruption, becomes imperative. This paper examines how digital technologies might impact the practices of the academic in the face of disruption. Three key areas of interplay between academics and technologies are identified: firstly, in developing open educational opportunities; secondly, in engaging with the preservation of data, relationships and narratives; and thirdly, in understanding the interconnections between technology and humanity, revealed as the cybernetic hypothesis. Thus, it is argued that digital technologies might enable academics to take an activist role in helping communities to engage with uncertainty.




Hall, R. (2013) Academic Activism in the Face of Enclosure in the Digital University. Power and Education, 5 (2), pp. 186-199


Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA)