This looks interesting. I’m posting here to remind myself to read it. Available for free or for a small donation online or in paperback.
Ansgar Allen, The Cynical Educator, Mayfly books, 2018
Ground down, disenchanted, but committed to education. Unable to quit, yet deploring everything education has become. We suffer a weakened and weakening cynicism. This cynicism exploits the last remaining educational commitments of an otherwise broken workforce, draining that workforce of its final pleasure: Revolt. Our cynicism is reactionary and conditional – exhausting where it might invigorate, rendering complicit, giving safe passage to bad temper – but can be reclaimed. We need more cynicism, not less. With The Cynical Educator a revived, militant Cynicism affronts us. Drawing on a long history of religious denial and philosophical intrigue, it brings our educational bad faith to the surface. It confronts the educated with the fruit of their conceit.
About the author
Ansgar Allen is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Sheffield and author of Benign Violence: Education in and beyond the Age of Reason.
You can read the book online , download it for free (and donate a suggested £1 if you like), or purchase a paperback copy at your local bookstore or online.
Louise Katz, Feeding Greedy Corpses: the rhetorical power of Corpspeak and Zombilingo in higher education, and suggested countermagics to foil the intentions of the living dead, Borderlands, 15 (1), 2016
Full PDF available
Some very interesting ideas in this article.
According to Richard Kearney, the imagination also owns an ethical role: it is through everyday imaginative projections that we create a ‘liveable world’ (2008 pp. 36-37). Kearney cites Patocka’s claim that ‘the ethical imagination … is a matter of spiritual struggle which refuses the tyranny of things as they are out of commitment to the Idea that things can be other than they are’ (2008 p. 42). Imagination is an essential and formidable force to deploy when challenging the fantasies upon which world-shaping social, economic or political ideologies are constructed. (p. 17)
Yancey Orr, Raymond Orr, The Death of Socrates Managerialism, metrics and bureaucratisation in universities, Australian Universities Review, vol. 58, no. 2 September 2016
Neoliberalism exults the ability of unregulated markets to optimise human relations. Yet, as David Graeber has recently illustrated, it is paradoxically built on rigorous systems of rules, metrics and managers. The potential transition to a market-based tuition and researchfunding model for higher education in Australia has, not surprisingly, been preceded by managerialism, metrics and bureaucratisation (rendered hereafter as ‘MMB’) in the internal functioning of universities in the last decade. This article explores the effects of MMB on the lives of academics, the education of students, and the culture and functioning of universities. By examining some of the labour activities of academics, work scheduling and time use, we demonstrate that MMB reduces the efficiency and quality of academic teaching, research and administration. Even more worrying, by qualitatively assessing the language, values and logic increasingly present in the academic culture of higher education in Australia, we show that MMB does not simply fail to improve universities or accurately assess academic achievement, it replaces the core values of education with hollow bureaucratic instrumentalism.
Keywords: bureaucratisation, managerialism, metrics, transvaluation of values
Alison Mountz et al. For Slow Scholarship: A Feminist Politics of Resistance through Collective Action in the Neoliberal University, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 2015, 14(4), 1235 – 1259
The neoliberal university requires high productivity in compressed time frames. Though the neoliberal transformation of the university is well documented, the isolating effects and embodied work conditions of such increasing demands are too rarely discussed. In this article, we develop a feminist ethics of care that challenges these working conditions. Our politics foreground collective action and the contention that good scholarship requires time to think, write, read, research, analyze, edit, organize, and resist the growing administrative and professional demands that disrupt these crucial processes of intellectual growth and personal freedom. This collectively written article explores alternatives to the fast-paced, metric-oriented neoliberal university through a slow-moving conversation on ways to slow down and claim time for slow scholarship and collective action informed by feminist politics. We examine temporal regimes of the neoliberal university and their embodied effects. We then consider strategies for slowing scholarship with the objective of contributing to the slow scholarship movement. This slowing down represents both a commitment to good scholarship, teaching, and service and a collective feminist ethics of care that challenges the accelerated time and elitism of the neoliberal university. Above all, we argue in favor of the slow scholarship movement and contribute some resistance strategies that foreground collaborative, collective, communal ways forward.
Keywords: slow scholarship, neoliberal university, resistance, collective action,
A number of interesting articles on current conditions in the university have been published. To keep a record of these and to disseminate them to others I will be posting the titles and abstracts on this blog.
Academic freedom is currently under threat – not just in the countries one would expect it to be but also in the so-called ‘free Western world’. The threats don’t come from traditional repressive political ideologies but are generated in the name of efficiency and cost savings and utilitarian ideas of direct university industry links and ‘impact’.
I post anything that has Foucault content on my Foucault News blog, but will post items without Foucault content on this blog.
Ann Martin-Sardesai, Helen Irvine, Stuart Tooley & James Guthrie, Government research evaluations and academic freedom: a UK and Australian comparison, Higher Education Research & Development, 2016
Performance management systems have been an inevitable consequence of the development of government research evaluations (GREs) of university research, and have also inevitably affected the working life of academics. The aim of this paper is to track the development of GREs over the past 25 years, by critically evaluating their adoption in the UK and Australian higher education sector and their contribution to the commodification of academic labour, and to highlight the resultant tensions between GREs and academic freedom. The paper employs a literature-based analysis, relying on publicly available policy documents and academic studies over the period 1985–2010. GREs are a global phenomenon emanating from new public management reforms and while assessments of university research have been welcomed, they have attracted critique based on their design, the manner in which they have been applied, and the unintended consequences of their implementation on academic freedom in particular. Consistent with international research on the impact of GREs, Australian research assessments appear to be undoing the academic freedom that is central to successful research. Further empirical research on the impact of GREs on academics is urgently needed.
KEYWORDS: Academic freedom, academics, Australian higher education sector, excellence in research for Australia, government research evaluation, research excellence framework,
More discussion in a radio program with views from a variety of experts, researchers and workers around the problems of open plan.
Is open plan a good way to work? – Life Matters – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 6 July 2015
“Open plan is a popular in home design and offices but is it good to work in? Promoted as team-building, many workers complain that open plan is noisy and distracting so it’s hard to get the job done. No privacy is another frequent complaint. Designers are trying to address the negatives by incorporating a variety of work spaces. Is this enough or is the private office, with a door, still an object of desire?”