Deploying the Foucauldian concepts of “conduct” and “counter-conduct”, this article provides an analysis of “Occupy Sussex”—a two-month-long student occupation launched in opposition to the outsourcing of service staff at the University of Sussex. Situated in the context of a post-Fordist political economy, we argue that the British university constitutes an especial site of conduct formation—a University Factory—wherein individuals are sorted and socialised as immaterial labourers. We argue that Occupy Sussex was a reaction to such conduct formation. As such, counter-conduct is deployed as a concept that can effectively map the tactics and strategies undertaken by Occupy Sussex against the university management. Moreover, counter-conduct is used in order to trace prefigurative attempts to redefine the university within the space of the occupation—away from the University Factory, towards collective self-management, alternative understandings of the “university experience” and an emergent notion of “community”. Finally, the use of counter-conduct serves to highlight the dangers of appropriation and co-optation; how university management attempted to co-opt and thus defuse the counter-conduct of Occupy Sussex.
Nişancıoğlu, KeremPal, Maïa
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences
Year of publication: 2016Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-06-04