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Professor Valerie Hey (University of Sussex) - The Paradoxical Academy: Between the Difficulties of the Devil and Democracy

In what Zizek, rather portentously calls a state of permanent economic emergency (2010), higher education at least in the UK, and particularly in England, has been subject to rapid disinvestment in both financial and in terms of an ideology linked to social democratic terms. Ironically in the recession, the market is now the sole or major arbiter of choice. I want to reflect on what this decoupling has done or is doing to the condition of my own production and to those I teach. Is it that the intimidations of austerity are intensifying the trend to supplant the pleasures of vocation, creativity and curiosity in those who work in the university as academics and students? Does there seems to be a default to the mundane, the obvious and the instrumental dominating desires for success so, that academic vocabularies mimic rather than interrogate the problematics of funders blue skies for grey skies (?) and students entailed in investing in their future under the consumer pays mandate, seek the impossible guarantee that the challenges of knowledge and learning engaged with their teachers, may all pay off? I draw upon some emergent evidence about this trend and what it presages.

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Professor_Valerie_Hey.pdfProfessor Valerie Hey's biography and abstract (128K)


Baring Court 114