Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Higher Education and the New Brutalism by Henry A. Giroux

“…In the United States and England, in particular, the ideal of the university as a vital public good no longer fits into a revamped discourse of progress, largely defined in terms of economic growth. Under the onslaught of a merciless and savage financialization of society that has spread since the 1980s, the concept of social progress has all but disappeared amid the ideological onslaught of a crude, market-driven fundamentalism that promises instant gratification, consumption and immediate financial gain. If dissident intellectuals were the subjects of right-wing attacks in the past, the range and extent of the attack on higher education has widened and become more insidious.

“As Ellen Schrecker succinctly notes: ‘Today the entire enterprise of higher education, not just its dissident professors, is under attack, both internally and externally. The financial challenges are obvious, as are the political ones. Less obvious, however, are the structural changes that have transformed the very nature of American higher education. In reacting to the economic insecurities of the past forty years, the nation's colleges and universities have adopted corporate practices that degrade undergraduate instruction, marginalize faculty members, and threaten the very mission of the academy as an institution devoted to the common good’ (Ellen Schrecker, The Lost Soul of Higher Education, (New York, N.Y.: The New Press, 2010), p. 3.).

“Memories of the university as a citadel of democratic learning have been replaced by a university eager to define itself largely as an adjunct of corporate power. Civic freedom has been reduced to the notion of consumption, education has been reduced to a form of training, and agency has been narrowed to the consumer logic of choice legitimated by a narrow belief in defining one's goals almost entirely around self-interests rather than shared responsibilities of democratic sociability…”

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