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CRIT-GEOG-FORUM  November 2007

CRIT-GEOG-FORUM November 2007

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Subject:

Re: Top Ten Ways to Battle Against the Neoliberalization of University Life?

From:

Lawrence Berg <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Lawrence Berg <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 16 Nov 2007 10:26:38 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (160 lines)

Ah yes... The good old theory/practice binary... So integral to the
production of (masculine and masculinist) identities in critical
geography... And oh-so-helpful in contesting 'everything'.

OK, so enough sarcasm.  The point I would make is that the binary
distinction between theory and practice is highly problematic.  At best, it
has been a means for certain people in Geography to maintain a flexible
superiority over others, by claiming that their brand of 'critical action'
is much more important than other people's 'critical theorising', as if the
two can be separated.  Clearly, there are some important ontological
differences between thinking and doing; yet thinking is always a doing and
vice versa.  Similarly, we should not assume that we know a person (and
their thinking/doing) by their posts on CGF.  All sorts of people are
engaged in important critical acts in their everyday lives, and we have
little access to these acts (and sometimes do not even see them as acts of
subversion or contestation.

Of course, the point is, how do we work communally and in concert, often in
coalition, with others to make our acts of contestation effective.  Verbal
pissing matches (and that is a purposely gendered metaphor I'm using here)
don't seem to me to be effective in that regard.

So... It seems that we might be at a point where we want to 'do something'
about the changing (neoliberalizing) conditions of academe.  Thus, the
question becomes how do we use the CGF as a means of organizing a communal
response (thinking/doing) that is both critical, and designed to effect
change?

Lawrence


On 11/16/07 8:02 AM, "Salvatore Engel-DiMauro" <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> thanks, Ant, for that. i would prefer a stop to all this academic
> weinging (or writing about weinging, or even a metanarrative on
> weinging), if it means not getting anything done  towards changing
> social arrangements (practice). just offering/publishing
> critiques/theorisations (in my case, a dull and possibly offensive
> lecture), as useful as they are to praxis (oh, another naughty word!),
> just do not contribute much to that end. then again, it is comfeyer to
> weinge (sorry, rigorously/academically "critique"!), all the while still
> getting a good enough salary with or without a union...
> 
> ehm, my brain must be on fire, i am forgetting that this is a /critical
> /geography forum, not an activist forum.
> 
> right, probably said enough to offend the majority of folks by now. good
> night,
> 
> saed
> 
> Ant Ince wrote:
>> "Unions in 'not very good at the moment' shocker!!"
>> 
>> Jon, you have a good point, but i did write " *building* and
>> maintaining...". i.e. just like the rest of the suggestions people
>> have posted up here, it's something that requires effort. rigorous
>> radical academia doesn't fall out of trees, and nor does a strong
>> labour movement. neither are easy, although both are necessary to
>> "battle against the neoliberalisation of the university". such is life.
>> 
>> ant
>> 
>> ps. i'd love to join your unicorn owners club, but my 'optimists
>> anonymous' dues are really expensive.
>> 
>> Jon Cloke wrote:
>>> Excellent idea, Ant - if you ever find a 'strong, militant and
>>> rank-n-file controlled union' then please let me know and I'll let
>>> you join my Unicorn owners club... Jon
>>> ---------------------------------------- > Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007
>>> 15:19:51 +0000 > From: [log in to unmask] > Subject: Re: Top Ten Ways
>>> to Battle Against the Neoliberalization of University Life? > To:
>>> [log in to unmask] > > i know this may be a "boring" one,
>>> but building and maintaining strong, > militant and rank-n-file
>>> controlled unions in HE is something that would > help - beyond our
>>> social/cultural positionality as academics, and more > to do with our
>>> economic positionality as workers. > > ant > > Maxey L. wrote: >> How
>>> about critters getting a list together? Lots of ideas already up from
>>> recent correspondence, my in-put at this stage would be something
>>> along these lines, any other ideas? And/or offers of helping compile
>>> the list? Larch >> >> 1) Using critical pedagogy - encouraging
>>> critical thinking, moving beyond lecture-exam format to group
>>> discussions, more participatory/empowering approaches, etc. (e.g.
>>> Cook et al paper in latest Geoforum) >> >> 2) link with activist,
>>> community groups, etc. beyond the academy >> >> 3) carry out critical
>>> (including participatory) research >> >> 4) make research findings
>>> and publications freely and publicly accessible on the web (vis a vis
>>> recent discussions on this list!) >> >> 5) expose and oppose
>>> corporate control of academia >> >> 6) for me there would need to be
>>> something on climate change/sustainability - e.g. use the growing
>>> 'sustainability consensus' to push for a democratisation of academia
>>> - as sustainability centrally implies participation. And encourage
>>> awareness of the wider implications of academia e.g. climate change
>>> and campus energy use/academic travel >> >>  >> >> -----Original
>>> Message----- >> From: A forum for critical and radical geographers
>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Duncan Fuller >>
>>> Sent: 16 November 2007 11:22 >> To: [log in to unmask] >>
>>> Subject: FW: [anarchist.academics] QUERY: Top Ten Ways to Battle
>>> Against the Neoliberalization of University Life? >> >> Bizarrely
>>> pertinent discussion just starting on another list...! >> >>
>>> -----Original Message----- >> From:
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>>> broca >> Sent: 16 November 2007 09:37 >> To: Angela Jancius >> Cc:
>>> Anarchist Academics Listserv >> Subject: Re: [anarchist.academics]
>>> QUERY: Top Ten Ways to Battle Against the Neoliberalization of
>>> University Life? >> >> Dear Angela and friends >> >> I think the
>>> topic is interesting enough to be debated on this list. I can give a
>>> few examples of my anthropology department in Sevilla (Spain): >> >>
>>> + We de not have assistant students that work for free (called
>>> "alumnos internos") which are very common in other depts. >> + PhD
>>> canditates and research fellows are allowed to teach much less
>>> classes than what is suggested in the instructions of their
>>> fellowships. So the University has to employ more professors, and the
>>> quality of eucation is (supposed to be) higher. >> + We pressure
>>> university managers to contract as much professors as possible, and
>>> in the better working conditions as possible. (Not always with
>>> succes. There is also some union struggle among precariuos
>>> professors). >> + Now it is taking place a process of homogeneization
>>> of university studies all over Europe. In Spain universities are
>>> negotiating with government the new catalogue of studies.
>>> Antropology, in order to survive, has to demonstrate that it has a
>>> demand from the job market. And courses must be oriented towards
>>> market demands. It's hard, but we are trying to preserve the critical
>>> perspective and independence of our discipline, while surviving. >>
>>>>> I hope those ideas are helpful. >> >> Beltrán >> >> ----- Mensaje
>>> original ----- >> De: Angela Jancius >> Fecha: Jueves, Noviembre 15,
>>> 2007 11:14 pm >> Asunto: [anarchist.academics] QUERY: Top Ten Ways to
>>> Battle Against the Neoliberalization of University Life? >> A:
>>> Anarchist Academics Listserv >> >> >>> Dear Colleagues, >>> >>> In
>>> preparation for an upcoming special issue of Anthropology News, on
>>>>>> the >>> "Political Economy of Academia," I'm preparing a top ten
>>> list of ways  >>> to >>> "battle against the neoliberalization of
>>> university life."  >>> >>> Here are a few examples I thought of, upon
>>> initial reflection:  >>> >>> * Invite adjunct and part-time faculty
>>> to departmental meetings. >>> * Don't require standardized testing
>>> for student admissions. >>> * Use course packets or next-to-last
>>> edition textbooks, which >>> students may >>> purchase for $10
>>> (rather than $120). >>> >>> I'd like to make this a collective list,
>>> as I am sure that you also >>> have >>> many excellent ideas. What
>>> practical steps might we to take, to make >>> >>> our departments
>>> more about people, and less about budgets?  >>> >>> Please email your
>>> ideas, by 11/19/07, to: [log in to unmask] >>>  >>> >>> Thank you in
>>> advance! >>> >>> Angela Jancius >>> >>> Anthropology News Column
>>> Editor, >>> Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW) >>>
>>> [log in to unmask] >>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> anarchist.academics mailing list >>>
>>> [log in to unmask] >>> >>> free hosting provided
>>> by >> _______________________________________________  >>
>>> anarchist.academics mailing list >>
>>> [log in to unmask] >>
>>> http://lists.mutualaid.org/mailman/listinfo/anarchist.academics >>
>>> free hosting provided by http://www.mutualaid.org/ >> > > -- > >
>>> Anthony Ince  > Research Student > Department of Geography, > Queen
>>> Mary, University of London, > Mile End, > E1 4NS > >
>>> www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/student/ince.html > > www.iww.org.uk
>>>>> www.socialcentresnetwork.org.uk
>> 

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