Venturing beyond the imposition of a postdigital, anti-human higher education




Journal Title

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Springer Nature


Book chapter

Peer reviewed



In an important footnote in Capital, Marx highlights how an analysis of technology enables us to reveal the dialectical construction of our dominant mode of reproducing everyday life. This links humans, infrastructures, modes of production, cultural conceptions, social relations, governance arrangements and nature, in order to describe the dominant political economic context for living. In terms of higher education, this enables an understanding of the relationship between humans and technologies, in order to maintain the reproduction of capitalism. This chapter argues that such a relationship is morbid and lengthens the shadow of value over what it means to be human. Here, the drive, shaped competitively and through commodification, is for productive human capital, the management of risk, and value-for-money. Thus, the idea of what it means to be educated is restructured by economic value, rather than humane values. This is the terrain upon which conceptions of postdigital higher education might be analysed, in order to offer alternatives away from the dehumanising universe of value. The chapter utilises the metaphor of composting as a way that individuals in their environments process anger, grief and trauma, and find new ways of living. It pivots around the potential for a reimagining of the integration of the digital and the human through mass intellectuality, as a new form of sociability.



Authoritarian, collective, composting, cybernetic, data, digital, higher education, humane values, lived experience, mass intellectuality, value


Hall, R. (2021). Venturing beyond the imposition of a postdigital, anti-human higher education. In: Savin-Baden, M. (Ed.) Postdigital Humans, Berlin: Springer.


Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice