Posts Tagged ‘education’

but how?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

“Universities used to be communities; they used to be places where intellectual life really happened. They were also places where avant-garde stuff was happening. And that’s – in England anyway – completely ground to a halt. Universities are largely sold as factories for production of increasingly uninteresting, depressed people wandering around complaining.”

“For me, the big problem in politics has always been the problem of motivation – how can you motivate a self to act on some conception of what it believes to be good. We live in a context of overwhelming, de-motivated cynicism, let’s say, which we could talk about separately. But what’s been amazing over the last year is watching how a certain movement caught fire, which to me is a kind of ethico-politico response to a wrong. To put it in a slogan: ‘60s struggles were about a kind of self-liberation, whereas more recent struggles have been about liberation of the Other, or issues of equality or fairness that might not be ones that I directly experience because I live in a state of relative privilege, but ones that I’m prepared to engage with because I think there’s a wrong here which needs to be addressed.”

Simon Critchley, interview on Figure/Ground with Andrew Hines, July 29th, 2012,


Are you critical?

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Bill Readings, until his death a Canadian professor of comparative literature at the Université de Montréal, in his posthumously published book, The University in Ruins (1997), observes that universities are no longer “guardians of the national culture” but effectively empty institutions that sell an abstract notion of excellence. The university, Readings writes, is “an autonomous bureaucratic corporation” aimed at educating for “economic management” rather than “cultural conflict.” The Anglo-American urban geographer David Harvey, reviewing Readings’ book in the Atlantic Monthly, noted that the modern university “no longer cares about values, specific ideologies, or even such mundane matters as learning how to think. It is simply a market for the production, exchange, and consumption of useful information—useful, that is, to corporations, governments, and their prospective employees.”

“We were talking about whether choosing to be an artist means aspiring to serve the rich. . . . that seems to be the dominating economic model for artists. . . . The most visible artists are very good at serving the rich. . . .”

Time was when art school admonished students not to think this way, but how long can the success academy hang on while galleries are not to be had? (Perhaps the answer is that scarcity only increases desperation; the great pyramid of struggling artists underpinning the few at the pinnacle simply broadens at the base.)
Martha Rosler “Take the Money and Run”