What makes anything a commodity is the possibility of trading it for profit? Over the time, everything that enters into capitalists costs of production, whether it is a material good or an activity, it will becomes commodified, while more and more things enter into the capitalist production. One major driver of these process is the will and the need to cut labor costs, but it can also have knock-on effects like the technology developed to cut labor costs in one field creates possibilities for creating new wants or needs in another.
Theoretical is commodification understandable as an engine of economic technological and in the consequence as an instrument of social change  ibid. It is interlinked in complex ways with the need for expansion for other purposes — the finding of new markets, new sources of cheap labor and new sites of capital accumulation  ibid. The social consequences of this process are destabilizing and the commodification of the public sphere  thus involves a change from one set of norms and incentives to another. The notion of commodification of knowledge as having transformed the environment for knowledge institutions such as universities  and other higher education organizations.
Commodification affects a variety of aspects of higher education, such as research, teaching, administration, knowledge products such as text books, electronic journals, teaching and learning platforms such as WebCt, research analysis software packages such as SPSS or MAXQDA  all of which require an annual license fee to be paid by the user Botshelo 2; Radder 1.
The paper is structured in three parts; the first chapter will gives a theoretical introduction to the means of the commodification of intellectual activity and when we talking about economization and the resulting new interdependencies I will connect the Marxist based Framework by Huws with the Governance Concept of Michael Foucault.
After these theoretical embedding it follows an empirical overview about the situation in the German speaking academic landscape.
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Then I like to give a reflection on the topic, sum up the research findings and like to raise some further questions. She names the dynamic as a process of increasing intensification of work, a standardization of the work process ibid.
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She argued that the creative class of the knowledge-based society  become marginalized and commodified under the neo-liberal structures of the academic labor market ibid. It is not less bureaucratization and less autonomy and she raised the question, how the researchers can possibly get started in a system to specify in advance what it is that the researcher will produce in standardized proposals, where the researcher or rather the applicant should describe the verifiable measures and the outcomes ibid.
The standardization processes make it possible to use information and communication technologies more extensively for example; introducing standard reporting procedures that make it possible to compare performance over time or between locations — by making it possible to pool knowledge in common databases or knowledge banks  ibid.
This development has the result that the nature of the activities becomes more generally . Each technological innovation simultaneously requires a new cohort of creative knowledge workers who, in the very process of developing new innovations, bring a routinization of the work of others. This transformation processes have consequences to the nature of these kind of knowledge work and the occupational identities  ibid.
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In the context of the new labor insecurities see introduction is the individualization of contracts leading a breakdown of collective structures and solidarities and at the same time an increasing demand for team organized working. This understanding of university collogues is the sum wherever human beings have to share scarce resources and the fellow ups are an increasing competition even in the universities, when they competed with other research institutions in a result of privatization processes ibid.
In , in the context of university lectures, Foucault articulated and understood his observation of the indicate social changes as the crises of the governments. But his theoretical argument contents explicit the political programmatic of the Neoliberalism. Based on this theory, that argued, that the government influenced the people, with the technologies of their power and not the power of their technologies Lemke The government has a huge impact on the individuals in the way they should think. They developed, in connection with some functional loss of their duties by the transformation ruled by new neo-liberal structures and hegemonial powers, new techniques in the fields of insurances, public health and education, that the individuals fell self-responsible for their acting and social security ibid.
In addition to the Marxist understanding of labor transformation and the wealth of labor we could argue, that the general influence of Neoliberalism has impacts on the work logic on knowledge worker and in consequence even on class structures.
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That is the result on the discussed problem of the missing solidarity between the employees, which is a result of the named increased rate of individual contracts, new evaluation processes for the self- and general improvement of efficiency Simon ; Huws The working hypotheses are: Hi So much greater the process of economization of the university is, so much higher is the demand to commodify academic labor. Hii The commodification of academic labor is independent of economization processes of the university and relates more to global developments, digitalization and the need to commodification.
Further, there are two contrasted research questions in addition, especially in context of observation of the developments of the system of higher education:. Surely, nothing could be worse. In this chapter I will introduce several examples of commodification on German speaking universities and like to name some empirical studies and their results about the commodification of knowledge work.
I also like to give an overview about the medial representation of one of the most relevant changes of academically work in the recent times next to the transformation of the organization, the MOOCs . For the development we have to use the media representation of this phenomenon in reason of a lack of a concrete and recent sociological research in the German academic landscape.
The following chapter is subdivided in some sub-chapters: 1 Empirical cases about economization of German Universities 2 University research institutions economization and increased external evaluation 3 The student representations in Austria and Switzerland 4 The representation of the Private Sector Cooperation 5 The discussion of MOOCs.
In general is it necessary to notice that the direct influence of the commodification processes on the university system is based on several university laws since  the Beginning of the s  APA ; Kreckel , Dries The German sociologist Dries speaks from a new logic in German University System and named the WissZeitVG Wissenschafts-zeitvertragsgesetzt in as one root of the problem of the economization of the university system  Dries In the context of the anniversary of the University of Leipzig in , there was a conference about economization of the university, the commodification of knowledge and the wealth of knowledge and academic education in times of digitalization and the internet University of Leipzig The study of Heuer and Schulze presents the different effects of economization and the commodification of the labor of the scientists ibid.
They studied two research departments, which are connected to several universities in the north of Germany and are part of the University of Oldenburg. They have interviewed a small number of employees to work out the effects of a financed by the private economy. The authors conclude that the produced knowledge is transformed into commodities and is not public anymore. Even the management and evaluation conditions changed for the department. When the produced knowledge is not accessible for other scientist, it is impossible to work on science, theories, methods or new technologies.
In the end the scientists are in tension between academic knowledge production and the private market economy ibid. But at the most university researches it is nowadays normal to work with freelancers, with staff members with fixed-term contracts etc. Ates A Euroac Study of Academic Professions in Europe concludes that there is a response to the social challenges even in the University system. In the case of Austria there is a trend development of increasing project- and time-based contract relations in the universities In the case of a well-recognized publication of the year , they work with several theoretical approaches to illustrate the importance to notice the loss of meaning of education by a commodification of it.
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