Dragan Plavšić – E.P. Thompson on how to save the university

Over four decades ago, the Marxist historian called for resistance against the commercialisation of higher education

Back in 1970, the great English Marxist historian, E.P.Thompson, was employed at Warwick University. Warwick was then a new university with a new way of doing things. Thompson didn’t like what he saw one little bit, and said so with characteristic eloquence, dubbing Warwick the ‘Business University’.

As Thompson glimpsed, Warwick was the forerunner of the neoliberal university of today, now set to suffer yet another dose of neoliberalism should the Higher Education Bill become law. So check out these 5 short passages by Thompson from 1970 and ask yourself if they sound familiar:

1. The “dominant elements in the administration of a university had become so intimately enmeshed with the upper reaches of consumer capitalist society that they are actively twisting the purposes and procedures of the university away from those normally accepted in British universities, and thus threatening its integrity as a self-governing academic institution…”

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