Bellamy's Rage and Beer's Conscience: Towards a Pirate Methodology
Over the last decade piracy has emerged as a growing field of research covering a wide range of different phenomena, from fashion counterfeits and media piracy, through to 17th century buccaneers and present-day pirates off the coast of Somalia. In many cases piracy can be a metaphor or an analytical perspective to understand conflicts and social change. This article relates this fascination with piracy as a practice and a metaphor to academia and asks what a pirate methodology of knowledge production could be: how, in other words, researchers and educators can be understood as ‘pirates’ to the corporate university. Drawing on the history of maritime piracy as well as on a discussion on contemporary pirate libraries that disrupt proprietary publishing, the article explores the possibility of a pirate methodology as a way of acting as a researcher and relating to existing norms of knowledge production. The methodology of piratical scholarship involves exploiting the grey zones and loopholes of contemporary academia. It is a tactical intervention that exploits short term opportunities that arise in the machinery of academia to the strategic end of turning a limiting structure into an enabling field of opportunities. We hope that such a concept of pirate methodologies may help us reflect on how sustainable and constructive approaches to knowledge production emerge in the context of a critique of the corporate university.
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