Dream large

Posted on | April 3, 2012 | 4 Comments

Dream large of narcotising the practice of thought, of putting to sleep the old cultures of criticism, inquiry and analysis, in favour of a consumer opportunity. Culture becomes brand. Dream large of how to educate and polish up your young people, so that they think efficiently but within certain limits, and so that they never engage their passion and pain as sites of intellectual activity, or as sources of intellectual energy. Perfect stainless‐steel‐coated technocrats, taking care of their affects through sex and drugs. And otherwise, trained to be accomplished but docile consumers; much like the education of previous generations of upperclass young ladies to grace the drawing rooms of power without challenging them.

The faculty of arts become a finishing school in the decorative liberal arts? Graduates knowing ‘just enough to use the trope’, as an American cultural theorist has said, speaking of the death drive? The university become a place for te destruction of thinkers? And collegiality now amounting to little more than averting one’s eyes while some of our number peck more vulnerable members to death? Such a form of thought is paranoid, a nightmare.

Look to the dawn.

- Robyn Ferrell, ‘Income Outcome: Life in the Corporate University’

Comments

4 Responses to “Dream large”

  1. glen
    April 4th, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    Yeah, maybe… Surely the bigger problem is the inverse of above, but one that leads to the same outcome. Popularist neoliberal teleologies are already performatively embodied to the extent of overdetermining student engagement (“P’s get degrees” or at best “P’s get jobs”) so they are already doing this (“think efficiently but within certain limits, and so that they never engage their passion and pain as sites of intellectual activity, or as sources of intellectual energy”) without any involvement from academic staff.

  2. Rachel O
    April 6th, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

    How is that the inverse? Isn’t it just the surface of same? ie. the teleologies still wrap around ‘content’ (that favourite neolib word) that seems (passionately and painfully) otherwise?

    Who does the trope quote come from? It’s awesome… aka Curatorial Studies.

  3. Rachel O
    April 6th, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    that being the perverse simplification of teleologies and ‘content’.

  4. melgregg
    April 7th, 2012 @ 10:52 am

    I didn’t know it at the time, but the trope is most likely a direct reference to this:

    http://www.unimelb.edu.au/dreamlarge/

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