We might consider the university as that space where the practice of education for life, with all its contemporary contextualisations, difficulties and possibilities, is a collective responsibility and resource, and so all have an interest in participation within, and ownership of, its spaces. The resources of which the university can be custodian are many, they should not be sequestered to the privileged few. If we must characterize the present conjuncture in some way relevant to the shape and place of the university in societal life, we might remark on several such resources (some more obviously progressive than others):
- collective inquiry, multifaceted interdisciplinarity
- team work, research teams, networks
- training, questioning, critique
- libraries, databases, tertiary retentional devices, algorithms
- translation, cultural communications
- hive-mind, conceptual, automated
- administration, organization, plasticity
- gender, difference, inclusion-exclusion
- technology, environment, animals, events
- service, affect, desolation, automation
- competition, disposability, composition
- digitalisation, proletarianisation
- bureaucratisation, auditing, calculus
Is it not possible to reject the elitist presumption that only some people are suited to research or salon theory? Luxemburg (1913), Gramsci (1971), Mao (1949), Spivak (2102) could each be deployed to illustrate both the necessity and potential of bringing all cadre onto the path of knowledge ‘management’ – even if that word is code for separating head and hand, salon and grunt, rich and poor. For some, just saying it this way is to name a prejudice – white supremacy – that joins a much larger battle in which the effort is destroy and displace outmoded assumptions. Even in a minor militant mode…
Marx writes to his publisher-friend to explain, clearly, why it is a critique of political economy:
And then the vulgar economist thinks a great discovery has been made when, as against the revelation of the inner interconnection of value and things, the proud claim is that in appearance things look different. In fact, the boast claims to hold fast to appearance, and takes it for the ultimate. Why, then, have any science at all?
But the matter has also another background. Once the interconnection is grasped, all theoretical belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions collapses before their collapse in practice. Here, therefore, it is absolutely in the interest of the ruling classes to perpetuate a senseless confusion. And for what other purpose are the sycophantic babblers paid, who have no other scientific trump to play save that in political economy one should not think at all?
But satis superque [there you go, and then some]. In any case it shows what these priests of the bourgeoisie have come down to, when workers and even manufacturers and merchants understand my book [Capital] and find their way about in it, while these “learned scribes” (!) complain that I make excessive demands on their understanding….
From 11 July 1868 letter of Marx to Kugelman. Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 250-53. The bold and the italics (except the Latin) are mine, to highlight the choice slurs, and the consequences.
Edit: Lenin says of this: ‘ It is only to be hoped that every one who begins to study Marx and read Capital will read and re-read this letter when studying the first and most difficult chapters of that book’ (Lenin: Published in 1907 in the pamphlet: Karl Marx. Letters to Dr. Kugelmann, edited and with a preface by N. Lenin. Novaya Duma Publishers, St. Petersburg. Published according to the text of the pamphlet.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 12, pages 104-112. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1907/feb/05.htm#bkV12E034)
I am gathering material for a review of this area and found a dissertation that discusses The Rumour of Calcutta:
“Hutnyk (1996: 10) also states that the massive tourism and infrastructure development in India and above all in the major cities might require brutal readjustment and restructuring for adapting to the West. Tourism experience in India is hybrid and mixed-up. He also suggests that without Mother Theresa and the Lonely Planet guidebook, Kolkata would have maybe been portrayed as less impoverished and run-down. Its reputation revolves around the main themes of poverty, urban decay and overcrowding (Hutnyk, 1996: 55) stemming from tourism literature, media and government and other official and institutional reports.
Slum tourism as a rather recent phenomenon in India might portray this day-to-day routine in an urban environment and might help to abolish stereotypes about the working poor, urban decay and extreme poverty. Hannam and Diekmann (2010) argue that slum tourism can nevertheless be potentially damaging for both visitors and residents if they happen on a superficial, commodified and non-mutual basis. Rolfes (2009) claims that there is only one professional and regular slum tourism operator in Mumbai which is Reality Tours. Thus, Rolfes’ (2009) analysis of tour operations in Mumbai is based on one tour operating business and might be too one-sided.
However, Hutnyk (1996) described and analysed his personal experience in Kolkata with backpacker tourists and volunteer tourists coming, watching and leaving the poor people of the city and calling their medical help and volunteering ‘sick tours’. He is one of the first to have mentioned the questionable morality that is involved once tourists come to see poor people in Third World countries already assuming the participative “voyeuristic consumption of poverty” (Hutnyk, 1996: 11) because the poor are always and unavoidably the subject of tours in India, whether consciously or subconsciously.
Almost ironically he mocks these very tourists coming to Kolkata to see ‘the extreme’ which is expected to be unusual and different to what he calls “the rumour of poverty” (Hutnyk, 1996: 20). In line with Hutnyk (1996), Hannam and Diekmann (2010) …
[Dunno if mocking is how I would describe the critique, but…]
Nevertheless, very much enjoying the thesis and hope it was turned into an article: Well done Linda Klepsch, 2010. A critical analysis of slum tours: Comparing the existing offer in South Africa, Brazil, India and Kenya,
UNIVERSITE LIBRE DE BRUXELLES
INSTITUT DE GESTION DE L’ENVIRONNEMENT ET D’AMENAGEMENT DU TERRITOIRE
FACULTE DES SCIENCES
More notes for the novel…
Brexit schzmexit we need much more to fix it so that neither Tories or Labour can govern.
While a Party of the New Type is formed and has the wherewithal to assure us (and its members) that it can deliver the means and organisation necessary to feed, warm, house, cloth and educate many populations.
FB will not help here as it would syphon off enthusiasms into some cul de sac app. It is a cul de sac par excellence. But email and instacomms will still be of use in the transition. After that we can make up new online cell structures and reading games (of our favourite communist authors and sci fi). I accept that we don’t yet know what else participatory media can deliver when nationalised and democratised as a means of government (to nationalise FB and google should be among the first actions of a new governance).
The general programme must be a variant of: first seize the banks, army, arms trade, mining and broadcast media – all for closure. Arm the people and make the printing presses a public service. Especially immediately close the arms trade and banks and reduce mining to necessary and minimum. Recall all troops and demob. Open the barracks to the people. Arm migrants as well – the militia will not be nationalist. require compulsory reading of Adorno’s essays on why National Socialism and Education must strive for the never again that is in the dark heart of corporate Europe. Corporate boards of course to be locked up – the only temporary and very last persons to be contained in jails, and even then released after reeducation (or shot as recalcitrants in a bloody purge of the bourgeois embolism).
Any similarity to persons living or dead – is a blueprint for what to do next. The novel is not a viable form in the digital age if not multi-authored and openly prescriptive. Let 1000 flowers of thought contend. Let the blood of the few nourish the many – the martyrs will be authors. The first among martyrs shall me the main character or each and every modernist drama – try Harold Bloom for treason, Gregor Sampson for false witness, Harper Lee for sentimentalism, and Naipaul for egotisms. Let them spend a month in stocks along the Thames Walk, but in comfort, with the basic needs of toilet and bathing so forth attended to by the new serving class employees of the state, the family Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Buck’s Palace will have long been transformed into a hospice for recovering homeless, refugees, migrants and as needed – no questions asked.