August 24, 2003

Had we but world enough, and time

I'm trying to meet a publishing deadline, and time's wingèd chariot is trying to overtake me. So expect little to no blogging for the next week or so (unless I get caught up or even ahead, but this is extremely, I mean this is laughably, unlikely).

"How goes the enemy"? used to mean (among other things), "What time is it?" I think this meaning should be revived.

Posted by Invisible Adjunct at August 24, 2003 10:40 AM

A piece in today's Times supports my suspicion that one thing we're seing is a contraction of education itself, especially humanities education, and that the struggles over tenure, exploitation of grad students and adjuncts, etc., need to be looked at in terms of the larger picture. The position of the marginal tenurable and tenured seems especially bad, since there's pressure to replace them with cheaper adjuncts, and at the same time their jobs are really justifiable (as they define them, with relatively little undergrad teaching) in research universities graduating increasingly-redundant new PhD's.

My alma mater unloaded faculty by eliminating majors and programs, allowing them to dump tenured staff. I think that they can also dump tenured if a program is reduced in size; tenure only protects you from being replaced.

State College Cuts Make Gruatiating a Struggle

Posted by: zizka at August 24, 2003 07:40 PM


Posted by: zizka at August 24, 2003 07:40 PM

mr. z.

Yes, the big picture, indeed. Interesting that there should be a contraction in education. There are a number of possible reasons for this, such as

A. the composition of the social capital necessary for middle class social reproduction has shifted in such a way as to make education less important. (I find this hard to believe)

B. the middle class itself is contracting. Dunno, but it's possible. When you run out of manufacturing jobs to eliminate, that leaves you the option of attacking the corporate bureaucracy or actually doing something creative. Considering the emphasis on "shareholders' rights" and the crumbling of 1st World institutions like Boeing, I'd say they'd go for the former.

C. Education is being privatised and redefined as an individual/family responsibility. A host of smaller, liminal institutions such as DeVry, Kaplan, ETS, Phoenix, Princeton Review, the Whittle Conspiracy, as well as the new, corporate universities are now competing for the middle class education dollar. The tendency towards consolidation of capital means that there will be fewer institutions with (probably) greater bargaining power vis-a-vis their workers. Watch what happens in Japan (where consolidation/corporatisation is being imposed as official education policy).

D. Limiting this to the US, it's clear that US society can't afford to lavishly reward Bush's campaign contributors and wage multiple, imperialist campaigns at the same time. This situation is not going to get better without a 180 degree turn in US policy. The policies need to change however, since the US has been weakened economically and politically. The political aspects are crucial, since there has already been nervousness about the future value of the US dollar and levels of debt for a while, especially in Asia. A move away from the US dollar (long desired in some parts) would make US debt financing that much more difficult. In short, recent US blunders will limit the amount of funds that the gov. and the middle class can afford to spend on education. The ensuing contraction could be huge.

Happy Monday!

Posted by: che at August 24, 2003 10:46 PM

C. sounds about right - heh.

IA -- good luck with the writing -- may all go smoothly!

Posted by: Rana at August 25, 2003 12:06 PM

In a September 30, 2003 entry, George Williams picks up the theme of time and points to Wordsworth and the sonnet "The world is too much with us" where the lyrical voice desires to stand in some place and "Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn."

How goes the revival?

Posted by: Francois Lachance at October 1, 2003 02:13 PM