Wednesday January 28th
Prof Robert Pfaller, University of Art and Industrial Design, Linz, Austria Time: 4.00pm - 5.30pm Location: in 4.65, Birley Building, MMU
The End of the Big Narrative and the Emergence of the Little Student: postmodernity and infantilisation
The political stakes of the recent university reforms in Europa can only be understood in connection with their larger background: the neoliberal, postmodern tendencies in society. These tendencies have brought about a new type of politics that slowly and tacitly replaces the notion of the emancipated citizen by that of the weak, obedient subject in need of protection. With regard to higher education this can be seen by the amazing transformation of universities - until a few decades ago, exemplary spaces of freedom of thought - into repressive apparatuses of permanent assessment, evaluation and control.
Interesting to see here is how a most right-wing agenda could be accomplished by using apparently leftist rhetorics: It was under the pretext to serve those masses of "uneducated" students which now are allegedly flooding the universities, that one has transformed these universities into institutions of stupid drill. Ironically, while companies more and more emphasize how much they need "creative" labour power, we supply them with people whom we teach to do nothing but what they are told to. Thus, under the pretext of opening the universities to the "uneducated", the agents of the university reforms have accomplished the neoliberal aim: excluding the masses from higher education, by providing them with cheap drill and meaningless certificates.