Professor Michael A. Peters

Michael A. Peters
Centre for Global Studies in Education
Associate Director

(+64) 7 838 4466 ext 7841
Honorary Doctorate (2015)Faculty of Humanities, Aaalborg University, Denmark
Honorary Doctorate Litt (2012)State University of New York
DipTChristchurch Teachers' College
D. Litt, (honoris causa)The State University of New York
PhDUniversity of Auckland
MA (1st)University of Auckland
BA (Hons)Victoria University of Wellington

Michael A. Peters is Professor in the Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research at Waikato University, Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Professorial Fellow at James Cook University.

Research Profile for Prof Michael A. Peters

“The Production of Knowledge”

My research interests focus on educational philosophy with a focus on contemporary philosophical movements to the framing of educational issues, especially philosophical and political economy questions of knowledge production, distribution and consumption. My recent writing and scholarly activity revolves around two interrelated areas: contemporary philosophy (critical theory, poststructuralism, hermeneutics, and analytic philosophy) with a focus on philosophy of education, and; the politics of education, educational reform and welfare policy in NZ and elsewhere (; The two areas of interest theoretically inform each other. The deepest influences upon my thinking and writing include the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and Michel Foucault. These philosophers provide a positive philosophical response to nihilism and to the fragmentation of value and dissolution of culture. Here the question of style is significant in understanding philosophy as a kind of writing. My major current projects include work on distributed knowledge, learning and publishing systems, and ‘open education.’ I have written over eighty books and some five hundred papers and chapters. My Google citation (at 27 Feb 2017) is 10,713 (5,259 since 2012) with an h-index of 48 (34 since 2012) and an i10-index of 185 (1123 since 2012). I am the executive editor of the SSCI journal, Educational Philosophy and Theory (T&F, 14 issues per year) for over 20 years, with strong engagement to rebuild the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA). I am the founding editor of Policy Futures in Education, E-Learning and Digital Media (Sage), and Knowledge Cultures. In 2016 I established The Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy (, Springer) and The Editors’ Collective (NZ, that I established to develop an experimental and innovative culture for academic publishing and collective writing, especially for emerging NZ scholars. I have been an advisor to world agencies such as UNESCO and to governments on these and related matters in Scotland, NZ, South Africa, USA (NSF) and the EU. I am Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Professorial Fellow at James Cook University, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Zhenzhou University, China.I was made a Lifelong Member of the Humanities Society of NZ, and The Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE), and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ in 2010. I was awarded honorary doctorates by State University of New York (SUNY) in 2012 and University of Aalborg in 2015.

He is the executive editor of Educational Philosophy and Theory  and founding editor of several other journals, including the Open Review of Educational Research and The Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy. His interests are in education, philosophy and social policy and he has written over sixty books, including most recently The Global Financial Crisis and the Restructuring of Education (2015), Paulo Freire: The Global Legacy (2015) both with Tina Besley, Education Philosophy and Politics: Selected Works (2011); Education, Cognitive Capitalism and Digital Labour (2011), with Ergin Bulut; and Neoliberalism and After? Education, Social Policy and the Crisis of Capitalism (2011). He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ in 2010 and awarded honorary doctorates by State University of New York (SUNY) in 2012 and University of Aalborg in 2015.


Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, SUNY, 2012
Honorary Fellow, Royal Society of NZ:

Hon Doctorate, Faculty of Humanities, Aalborg University, Denmark 2015
Hon. President, American Association for Economic Research (AAER), 2016



New works

Education, Philosophy and Politics: The Selected Works of Michael A. Peters 

In the World Library of Educationalists series, international experts themselves compile career-long collections of what they judge to be their finest pieces - extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings, major theoretical and/practical contributions - so the world can read them in a single manageable volume. Michael A. Peters has spent the last 30 years researching, thinking and writing about some of the key and enduring issues in education. He has contributed over 60 books (authored, co-authored and edited) and 500 articles to the field. In Education, Philosophy and Politics, Michael A. Peters brings together 15 of his key writings in one place, including chapters from his best-selling books and articles from leading journals. Starting with a specially written Introduction, which gives an overview of Michael's career and contextualises his selection, the essays are then arranged thematically to create a pathway of a way of thinking in philosophy of education which is forward looking but takes account of tradition and the past. 

Cognitive Capitalism, Education and Digital Labor (2011)

Cognitive capitalism - sometimes referred to as 'third capitalism,' after mercantilism and industrial capitalism - is an increasingly significant theory, given its focus on the socio-economic changes caused by Internet and Web 2.0 technologies that have transformed the mode of production and the nature of labor. The theory of cognitive capitalism has its origins in French and Italian thinkers, particularly Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari'sCapitalism and Schizophrenia, Michel Foucault's work on the birth of biopower and Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire and Multitude, as well as the Italian Autonomist Marxist movement that had its origins in the Italian operaismo (workerism) of the 1960s. In this collection, leading international scholars explore the significance of cognitive capitalism for education, especially focusing on the question of digital labor.  

The Virtues of Openness: Education, Science and Scholarship in the Digital Age (2011)

The movement toward greater openness represents a change of philosophy, ethos, and government and a set of interrelated and complex changes that transform markets altering the modes of production and consumption, ushering in a new era based on the values of openness: an ethic of sharing and peer-to-peer collaboration enabled through new architectures of participation. These changes indicate a broader shift from the underlying industrial mode of production””a “productionist” metaphysics””to a postindustrial mode of consumption as use, reuse, and modification where new logics of social media structure different patterns of cultural consumption and symbolic analysis becomes a habitual and daily creative activity. The economics of openness constructs a new language of “presuming” and “produsage” in order to capture the open participation, collective co-creativity, communal evaluation, and commons-based production of social and public goods. Information is the vital element in the “new” politics and economy that links space, knowledge, and capital in networked practices and freedom is the essential ingredient in this equation if these network practices are to develop or transform themselves into 'knowledge cultures'. The Virtues of Openness investigates the social processes and policies that foster openness as an overriding educational value evidenced in the growth of open source, open access, and open education and their convergences that characterize global knowledge communities. The book argues that openness seems also to suggest political transparency and the norms of open inquiry, indeed, even democracy itself as both the basis of the logic of inquiry and the dissemination of its results.

Neoliberalism and After? Education, Social Policy and the Crisis of Western Capitalism (2011)

The era that began with the election of the Thatcher and Reagan governments has been dominated by contemporary forms of neoliberalism-based market fundamentalism, globalization as world economic integration and the ideology of 'free trade,' and an attack on 'big' government and social welfare. This book is a historical and theoretical investigation of contemporary neoliberalism in relation to education policy and its rollback of the Keynesian welfare state. It argues that education is the basis of an open society and is a social welfare right in the merging knowledge economy. Drawing on the theoretical lens of Michel Foucault's work on governmentality understood as a form of radical political economy, the book explores and critiques neoliberalism as the ruling ideological consensus. It also questions whether and to what extent its influence will continue, in the face of the destabilization of markets that followed the financial crisis and the global recession that began in 2007, in the advanced liberal economies of the United States and the European Union.

Factsheet at 

The Last Book of Postmodernism: Apocalyptic Thinking, Philosophy and Education in the Twenty-first Century (2011)

The Last Book of Postmodernism comprises set of essays written on and about postmodernism and education. It is written in an apocalyptic tone that treats themes of religion and spiritualism, drawing on poststructuralist sources of inspiration, to contrast the present postmodern condition and the philosophical significance and historical influence of Nietzsches statement God is dead. The book considers the meaning of the end of Christendom and the prospect of global spirituality. It also considers the end of literature and the beginning of user-generated cultures and the implications of this shift for education and the philosophical model of dialogue that has dominated the humanities in the West. It charts the end of philosophy and the rise of body criticism, the promise of the Enlightenment, the relation between education, power and freedom, geophilosophy and the pedagogy of the concept, and the narrative turn as a basis for a new critical language for educational studies. Finally, the book considers post-postmodernism and the end of the linguistic turn in educational theory.

Published books

Selected Papers Online

"Henry Giroux on Democracy Unsettled: From Critical Pedagogy to the War on Youth," Truthout, Monday 29 August 2011, 

"White Philosophy in/of America," Special Issue on “The Roots of Rorty’s Philosophy,” Pragmatism Today 2 (1) Summer, 2011: 144-154; at

"Education, Creativity and the Economy of Passions: New Forms of Educational Capitalism" (Thesis Eleven) A Sage 2010 most download article

"Ecopolitics of the ”˜Green Economy’: Environmentalism and Education," Economics, Management and Financial Markets, 4 (3): 1-15. Reprinted in The Journal of Academic Research in Economics, 2010, vol. 2, issue 1 (May), pages 21-36, 2010:

The Idea of Openness, 2010, Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Education, at, includes: 1. Open Education and Education for Openness; 2. Open Works, Open Cultures, and Open Learning Systems; 3. 'Openness' and 'Open Education' in the Global Digital Economy: An Emerging Paradigm of Social Production; 4. Creativity, Openness and User-Generated Cultures; 5. Scientific Communication and the Open Society: The Emerging Paradigm of 'Open Knowledge Production.'

The Changing Architecture of Global Science, Policy Brief and Occasional Paper (long version), Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois, 2009, at and

"Education and the Culture of Openness: New Architectures of Collaboration" Conference on Education, Culture and the Knowledge Economy Friday, June 6, 2008. Flavelle House, 78 Queen's Park Faculty of Law University of Toronto. Presentation at 

"Obama's America: Automobilism, Americanism and the End of Fordism," Policy Futures in Education, 2009, 7(2), 266-270.

"Citizenship in an Age of Globalization,"Global-e, A Global Studies Journal, 2008, 1 (3), February, at

"Information, Globalization and Democracy: The Utopian Moment?" Global-e, A Global Studies Journal, 2008, 2 (1), May, at http://Global-Ejournal.Org/.

"The Global Failure of Neoliberalism: Privatize Profits; Socialize Losses," Global-e, A Global Studies Journal, 2008,

"Wittgenstein, Education and the Philosophy of Mathematics," Theory and Science, 3 (3), 2002,

"(Posts-) Modernism and Structuralism: Affinities and Theoretical Innovations, Sociological Research Online, vol. 4, no. 3, 1999:  

PhilPapers, Online research in philosophy

Works by Michael Peters

Books by Michael A. Peters

The Public Intellectual: Michael A. Peters

Breaking Open the Digital Commons to Fight Corporate Capitalism

Inventing Human Rights

Thursday 22 June 2012
By Michael A Peters, Truthout | Op-Ed

Freedom, Openness and Creativity in the Digital Economy
Wednesday 06 June 2012
By Michael A Peters, Truthout | Op-Ed

The Rights of the Child, "Adultism" and the Philosophy of Childhood
Friday, 25 May 2012
By Michael A Peters and Viktor Johansson, Truthout | News Analysis 

Obama, Education and the End of the American Dream
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
By Michael A Peters, Truthout | News Analysis 

Knowledge Work Under Cognitive Capitalism
Friday, 18 May 2012
By James Reveley and Michael A Peters, Truthout | Op-Ed

Algorithmic Capitalism and Educational Futures: Informationalism and the Googlization of Knowledge
Friday, 04 May 2012
by: Michael A Peters, Truthout | News Analysis 

Henry Giroux on Democracy Unsettled: From Critical Pedagogy to the War on Youth
Monday 29 August 2011
by: Michael A. Peters, Truthout | Interview