Lecture Series

The Max Weber Lectures are a series of lectures related to the themes of the research projects of the India Branch Office. Distinguished scholars working on any of the research themes of the IBO are specially invited to India to share their expertise with project partners and other researchers in India. The series consists of two sets of two lectures each by the invited speaker. The lectures take place in spring and autumn respectively. The series started in autumn 2018 with a lecture each in Bangalore and Delhi by Professor Pauline Lipman from UIC College of Education, Chicago.

The second lecture was delivered in Spring 2019 by Professor Andy Green from UCL Institute of Education, London.

The Third lecture is going to be delivered by Professor Ute Frevert, from Max Planck Institute for Human Development in November 2019 in Kolkata and Delhi.

Andy Green

22 February 2019 at the India International Centre, New Delhi


Education has always been a key instrument of nation-building in new states. National education systems have typically been used to assimilate immigrants; to promote established religious doctrines; to spread the standard form of national languages; and to forge national identities and national cultures. They helped construct the very subjectivities of citizenship, justifying the ways of the state to the people and the duties of the people to the state. In this lecture Andy Green discusses the social origins of mass education in the West, including the roles played industrial and urban change, proletarianisation and liberalism, and how nation-building lay at the heart of the creation of modern education. The more affluent states today often prioritise skills formation over citizenship formation, but newly developed states continue to use education as a crucial vehicle for state-building. Most notably, education has been a tool of successful state formation in the developmental states of East Asia. While human capital theories have focused on how schools and colleges supply the skills for economic growth, Green shows how the forming of citizens and national identities through education has often provided the necessary condition for both economic and social development.

Autumn 2018

Pauline Lipman
12 November 2018 at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bengaluru & 16 November 2018 at the India International Centre New Delhi

This paper argues that education is co-constitutive of the neoliberal economic-political order and its urban crises and is a critical site for resistance to neoliberalism, racism, reactionary nationalism, and xenophobia. I begin with the stakes of the present moment: the conjuncture of profound  economic, political, social, and ecological crises and global resurgence of  xenophobic, white supremacist, nationalist, anti-democratic agendas, on one hand, and new resistances, solidarities, social imaginaries and emerging counter-hegemonic programs, on the other. I trace this polarized moment to the protracted structural crisis of capitalism, globalized neoliberalism, and legacies of colonialism, white supremacy, xenophobia, and entrenched class/race/gender/caste/ethnic/religious social hierarchies that variously permeate our societies at all scales.

Neoliberal logics of capital accumulation and anti-democratic governance (intertwined, in the U.S., with white supremacy) have driven the economic and spatial restructuring of cities and its intensified economic, social, and spatial inequalities.  I argue  that, in the U.S.,  urban education policies are co-constitutive of neoliberal urban restructuring and its inequalities, the shrinking and commodification of the social state; and racialized/spatialized politics of disposability, visited particularly on African Americans (Lipman, 2011; 2015). Undermining critical thought, academic independence, and democratic participation in schools is also central to neoliberalism’s anti-democratic political project. In this moment, public education is a locus of the crises of the neoliberal order, including the crisis of social reproduction (Fraser, 2016), and, in the U.S., the municipal state’s racialized attempt to discipline the public through fiscal austerity (Peck, 2012), subordinating the lives of “surplus people” to fiscal solvency and subjecting them  to intensified state violence (Pulido, 2016) and “organized abandonment” (Gilmore, 2008). These practices have given rise to an education justice movement, with parents and teachers as key protagonists. Led by people of color, opposition to closing and privatizing public schools and to education austerity and racial inequity is unsettling neoliberal hegemony. Parents, students and members of racially marginalized communities, along with educators, are authors of critical, humanizing education visions and practices of urban solidarity that challenge the present neoliberal social order. These contests  over education are part of what Lefebvre (1996) called struggles for “the right to the city”.


Fraser, N. (2016). Contradictions of Capital and Care. New Left Review, pp.99-117.

Gilmore, R. W. (2008). Forgoten places and the seeds of grassroots planning. In C. R. Hale, Ed. Engaging contradictions: Theory, politics, methods of activist scholarship, pp.31-61. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lefebvre, H. (1996). Writings on cities, E. Kofman & E. Labas, Trans. and Ed. London:  Blackwell. 

Lipman, P. (2011). The new political economy of urban education: Neoliberalism, race, and the right to the city.  New York: Routledge.

Lipman, P. (2015). Accumulation by dispossession: Closing schools and state abandonment of communities of color. In B. Picower & E. Mayorga, What’s Race Got To Do With It: How current school reform policy maintains racial inequality. Peter Lang Publishers.

Peck, J. (2012). Austerity urbanism: American cities under extreme economy. City, 16, 626-655.

Pulido, L. (2016).  Flint, Environmental Racism, and Racial Capitalism. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 27 (3), pp. 1-16.