Labour, property and pedagogy: Theory and practice for co-operative higher education

Joss Winn, Feb 11, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's a lot to like in Joss Winn's article about an educational co-operative in Lincoln (one of the coolest cities in England, IMO) but I fear it's one of these models that may work better as a single instance than as a replacement for the entire system. "There is no fee for learning or teaching, but most members voluntarily contribute to the Centre either financially or with their time. No one at the Centre receives a salary and all contributions are used to run the SSC." So, ok, it's self-managed learning, which I like. And "Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity." Standing alone, the model is strong. The weakness if it is adapted to serve everybody is that not everybody believes these ideas, and in a democracy, if they have a majority, they can reshape them. Personally, I'm still good with that - in reality, actual co-ops are greatly assisted by paid staff, for example. But a model-based co-op, which is what Winn emphasizes in this paper, does not survive the transition to real democracy. More here and here. Via @psychemedia.

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