Thursday, 19 June 2008

The University

IT with some thoughts on what the university is (good) for (avoiding Jacques-Alain Miller's Maoist phase argument 'absolutely nothing' - strangely the French government thought that might conflict with his role as a university academic). In so many of the situations of the new bureaucracy this comment from Žižek comes to mind: ‘in a bureaucracy caught in the vicious cycle of jouissance, the ultimate crime is to simply and directly do the job one is supposed to do’
(‘Odradek as a Political Category’, Lacanian Ink 24 / 25 (Winter / Spring 2005): 136-155, p.140).


it said...

It's never entirely clear, though, where the boundaries of what one is 'supposed to do' lie. Having said this, a mutual friend of ours is applying the Zizekian technique to his lecturing job (not attending inessential meetings, not answering emails unless absolutely necessary, teaching set hours and nothing more), and is being rewarded by having his probation prolonged indefinitely...

Benjamin said...

True, and this blurring of the role is part of the problem as I'm sure you are suggesting; we find ourselves supposed to be counsellors, marketing experts, entrepreneurs, and so on.
I agree with your point about removing management / business adminstration and discourse (often this amounts to a very pseudo form of business discourse). The difficult is how? The profession seems supine, or bought off through the new promotion structures (to move into management is certainly a way to gain vastly in income).
I reflect with some bitterness how at every point of gaining some achievement and another rung on the academic ladder, I only arrive to find it completely de-valued, traduced, or the so-called 'rules' entirely changed. "Another book. What about external funding?" and so on.