Marxism and urban culture: A review

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“Marxism and Urban Culture”, Benjamin Fraser, editor. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014. Xvii + 253pp

Reviewed by Jan Blommaert

Since late March 2015, the Antwerp Grand Place offers a remarkable sight to the thousands of tourists passing to admire the city hall and the monumental fountain in front of it: dozens of Individual citizens stand there seemingly alone, several meters separating each from the other. They carry no slogans or banners, rarely even emblems of parties or organizations. There is no shouting or chanting, no fists in the air. Some are quietly reading a book, others chat with bystanders or plainclothes police officers. For this is a protest action called “the upstanding citizen”. It started as an individual initiative after an unauthorized sit-in there, protesting against racist remarks by the Antwerp Mayor, resulted in the mass arrest of over 200 people and the prohibition of follow-up protests. The City’s rules only allow demonstrations that have been approved by the Mayor; they define a demonstration as something that happens in a group, and the latter is defined as several people doing things “together”.  “The upstanding citizen” mode avoids all of those: while the action is obviously collective, people are not acting collectively – they define the spatial and activity template that defines a “demonstration” by avoiding the proximity rules and recognizably joint activity modes defining collective behavior – shouting, chanting, jointly making symbolic gestures. Much to the frustration of the Mayor and his senior police officers, “the upstanding citizens” appear at irregular intervals – it is an unpredictable event – and the person who initiated it does not make any overt appeal or invitation to others in view of joining him. He merely puts an announcement on his Facebook page, saying that he’ll visit the Grand Place at, say, 6PM on Tuesday. Scores of others follow him each time. No law or regulation has been violated, while the city’s political and historical-architectural center is converted into a space of overt but unpunishable contestation.

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Such forms of creative, subversive and ludic interventions in public space are the stuff of this wonderfully edited collection of essays in which authors explore the purchase of central issues and concepts from the work of, mainly, Henri Lefebvre and David Harvey, with an occasional foray into the oeuvre of Engels, Bauer, Gramsci, Thompson, Soja and the Situationalists, in a joint (and largely successful) attempt to revive Marxist perspectives on “the urban” as a field of cultural production, of humanist freedom and of dis-alienation. The book suggests a preceding enthusiastic and engaging dialogue between its authors, which makes its contributions lively, sometimes riveting, and the collection compelling. Much is achieved in this book, and I can indulge in what follows in some thoughts and observations triggered by the studies in this volume.

Before I do so, let me summarize the main intellectual line developed in the book and nicely sketched in Benjamin Fraser’s introductory chapter.  The conceptual point of departure is Marx’s classic distinction between exchange value and use value – value within a market, and value outside the market, one could say. It was the genius of Lefebvre to apply this distinction to a political view of the city, which – in a critique of functionalist urbanists such as Corbusier – he saw increasingly becoming captured in a logic of exchange value. Cities were becoming, in the age of industrial capitalism, the locus where a giant workforce needed to be kept healthy, politically inert and fit for labor; cities were an instrument of capitalist power. The post-industrial stage, in turn, saw cities converted into capital itself, with speculative real-estate exchange value dominating the logic of infrastructuring. Against this reality, Lefebvre pitted a concept of “l’urbain”, in which the city was not a mere built-up space or an exchange-valuable infrastructure, but a process of production driven by use-value. His “Le droit à la ville” (1968) codified this view:[1] the city was, for him, a place where community life took place, consisting of an infinite multitude of ties between people, invested by interests but not driven by the quest for profit, but rather by the opportunities to achieve what Gortz later called “self-production”: becoming the homo faber whom the young Marx so passionately described in the Manuscripts.[2] Achieving this level of humanity, for Lefebvre, was a fundamental right – hence “le droit à la ville”. This reconceptualization heralded an era of critical thought on urban spaces in scholarship as well as policy, and David Harvey did massive work identifying the tremendous critical potential lodged in this view. Needless to say that much of the politics of spatial contestation since 1968, with Occupy as its most recent articulation, has its roots in Lefebvre’s reconceptualization of “the urban”.

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Note, of course, that Lefebvre’s application of the Marxian distinction between different types of value to his view of “the urban”, eventually leads to a cultural bias.[3] While modes of self-production have material dimensions, their outcomes are largely immaterial – a social ambiance which Lefebvre emphasized as necessarily “ludic”, playful, but of fundamental importance for achieving the humanity he saw as the ultimate aim of Marxism. The authors in this book are, thus, not off-mark when they engage with the ways in which cities have been depicted in movies, novels, or contemporary forms of carnivalesque demonstration. Note, at the same time, that Lefebvre’s Marxism was for precisely those reasons long considered as heterodox (hence, revisionist) “new left” by the non-Gramscian other half of Marxism. The authors in the book subscribe to this “new left” tendency – the book title says it all – and the range of authors from whom they draw inspiration, surveyed above, testifies to this. There is one exception: in an otherwise empirically stimulating paper on the Austromarxists’ dream of “Red Vienna”, Kimberly DeFazio sides with Engels’ conclusion that only a revolutionary change in fundamental economic relationships will solve the urban problem, dismissing en route any approach that does not accept revolutionary action as the sole means of transformation as un-Marxist. It is a pity that she passes the same verdict on people who never dismissed revolution as an aim and instrument of historical change but merely described the complex transformations of capital, labor and capitalist society – think of André Gortz and E.P. Thompson as cases in point.[4] But let us return to the issue of the city.

Lefebvre consistently stressed the importance of a “total science” of the city, decrying the ways in which institutionalized divisions between “social sciences” and “humanities” had become obstacles to holistic analyses of complex and dynamic phenomena such as cities and the patterns of human activity they involve. It is one of the achievements of this book that it manages to dissolve the distinction between what is “cultural” (hence, a matter for humanities) and what is “social” (hence, objects of social science). The cultural is fully social here, and even if we read chapters on eminently “humanities” objects such as novels or movies, the analysis demonstrates how such cultural objects are in no way “superstructural” – in a definition of the term that made it synonymous with “superficial” – but often the stuff that generates, sustains and determines crucial social processes of group and community formation, the articulation of sociopolitical and economic interests, the construction and ratification of identities, and so forth. Evidently, this folding of the cultural into the social generates a third sphere: the political. Here again, the intellectual lineage within Marxism is clear: Thompson, in most of his work, famously claimed that there is no proletariat without shared experiences of capitalist expropriation and exploitation converging onto structured patterns of what we would now call identities. The bourgeoisie, likewise, controlled its membership more by means of symbolic than hard capital – Bourdieu’s work, but also much of Erving Goffman’s, established that in great detail.[5]

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It is this great detail that I wish to briefly engage with in what follows. The question of detail is not a question only of analytical accuracy, it is a conceptual and ontological issue that revolves around the locus of “culture” and of “the urban”. In the book, such loci are, to some extent, stereotyped: we see typically “urban” images in typically “cultural” objects such as movies, texts, architecture and forms of political carnival. Thus “culture” and “the urban” are unproblematically clear in this book, so it seems. In actual fact, they are not.

Let me start with the “cultural”. If the cultural equals the social (and thence, the political), then the locus of culture is the everyday re-enactment, over and over again, of socially patterned activities that are perceived to be meaningful by others (hence, driven by shared complexes of norms and expectations). It is this fundamental observation (and ontological principle) that propelled the likes of Herbert Blumer, Aaron Cicourel, Howard Becker and Erving Goffman to consider the micropolitics of everyday social practices, not because they considered the microscopic to be the privileged locus of whatever we understand by the term “society”, but because such micropractices are just not “micro”: they are effectively “macro” – the only realistic specter we can have on big things such as “society” or “culture”. “Culture”, thus, is not just lodged in a novel, a poem or a painting, but also in a routine greeting, a downcast gaze or a raised middle finger. And the experiential basis of “social” units such as class gains a clear empirical footing: whatever we call “social” rests on degrees of sharedness in recognizing what others do; or even more practically, in the ways in which we are able to make sense of social situations by means of such degrees of sharedness. Briefly returning to our “upstanding citizen” protests in Antwerp, we can see how such actions can be read, and understood as being politically meaningful, by reference only to locally valid cues about what counts as “demonstration” and what doesn’t count – insignificant actions become significant ones through the recognizable “frames” they articulate (at least, recognizable to some).

I’m saying nothing new here – I merely reiterate the fundamental assumptions of Symbolic Interactionism.[6] From a Marxist perspective, I find them quite productive, if for nothing else, because they compel us to turn a term such as “praxis” – often, to my profound frustration, used in a lapidary and loosely generalizing way – into an empirical program. Let us go out and look for those moments of practice that can be read, and dissected, as “praxis” and, as such, the ideology-infused moments in which “society” and “culture” enter reality. In my own work, I have attempted to take these principles into analyses of the actual, dense and complex semiotizations of urban spaces by their inhabitants and users by means of what is now called “linguistic landscapes”.[7] People produce tremendous quantities of (what Benjamin Fraser, in the introductory chapter, calls) “Humanities texts” in the spaces they inhabit, turning them from mere space into social space (and thence, into politicized space); they do so by means of shop window signs, posters, banners, stickers, graffiti, post-its on window and doors, scribbled signs on the pavement and so forth. Such forms of semiotic activity, individually as well as collectively, lead us to insights into their histories of production and their potential uptake by selected audiences (no single sign is meant for everyone), and show us how space is demarcated into actual zones of ownership, legitimate usage and contested presence – by means of eminently “cultural” materials: written and designed messages communicating with specific addressees. They teach us that social and cultural spaces are spaces defined by real or virtual copresence (a feature central to Goffman’s work, of course) and, hence, by patterns of communication that do not offer themselves easily to a priori definition or a posteriori generalization.

5.8 The Gujarati grocery

Attention to this level of praxis, thus, de-stereotypes the “cultural” and disperses it over a tremendous amount of everyday events and practices; it also destereotypes “the urban”, I would argue, for such forms of praxis occur in areas we typically define as urban as well as in areas seen as “peri-urban” or even “rural”. And they occur in tremendous multitude in that new space, often overlooked in current studies: the virtual space, which now crosscuts and connects “urban” as well as “non-urban” spaces in ways we still need to get our heads around, but of which we can assume that they render strict distinctions (and thus, definitions) of what is “urban” and what is not quite problematic. “Urban culture” – the term from the book title – may (and does) occur in phenomenally similar ways in spaces we would rarely call “urban”. And to the extent that Lefebvre’s “droit à la ville” concerned the fundamental right to a specific level of humanity, a disconnection between, on the one hand, “the urban” as the complex of rights to this kind of humanity and, on the other hand, the actual – stereotyped – cities known by names such as Mumbai, Paris or München might be necessary if we wish to preserve the fundamental humanist (and Marxist) sense attributed by Lefebvre to “l’urbain”.

I make these remarks not as a targeted criticism of “Marxism and Urban Culture”; as I emphasized above, the book does a remarkable job in re-opening a field of inquiry in which I merely sketched some other lines and opportunities. The fact that I felt invited to do so testifies to the stimulating nature of the book: it engages one in an intellectual space of significant interest and relevance. The editor and the authors are to be credited for it.

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[1] Henri Lefebvre, Le Droit à la Ville. Paris: Antropos 1968.

[2] André Gortz, Critique of Economic Reason. London: Verso 1989. For Marx’s humanism, see Erich Fromm, Marx’s view of Man. New York: Continuum 1961.

[3] Lefebvre’s view of Marxism is outlined in his concise “Que Sais-Je” booklet Le Marxisme (Paris: Presses universitaires de France 1958). An excellent discussion of the various developments within Marxism can be found in Eric Hobsbawm, How to Change the World. New haven: Yale University Press 2011.

[4] One can check E.P. Thompson’s Poverty of Theory for evidence (London: Merlin 1978).

[5] See for instance Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press 1984; Erving Goffman, Relations in Public. New York: Basic Books 1971. An entertaining and related study is Franco Moretti, The Bourgeois. London: Verso 2013.

[6] Two books in particular can be recommended: Herbert Blumer, Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Berkeley: University of California Press/New York: Prentice Hall 1969. Aaron Cicourel, Cognitive Sociology. Harmondworth: Penguin Education 1972. Observe that Symbolic Interactionism has been an extraordinary but rarely discussed influence on Bourdieu’s work. For the latter, see Jan Blommaert, “Pierre Bourdieu and Language in Society”, Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies, paper 153, 2015.

[7] See e.g. Jan Blommaert, Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes: Chronicles of Complexity. Bristol: Multilingual Matters 2013.

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“Investing” in higher education

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Jan Blommaert 

In response to criticism by protesters, aimed at the neoliberalization of universities, governments often reply that “they are investing more” in universities than ever before. This argument often has a silencing effect, it is often seen and experienced as an effective rebuttal of the protesters’ claims.

It also fits nicely with the general call, repeated endlessly, that “the best possible investment is investment in education”. From Warren Buffett and the World Economic Forum down to local city councils and poverty-combating NGO’s: the same message is broadcast over and over again. Invest in education, and you will increase employment rate, build superior skills for the workforce of the future, produce surplus value and become innovative that way, and fight poverty most effectively. “Investing in education” is generally perceived as uniformly and unambiguously good, something we all want and something of which all of us would massively benefit. Governments pulling that rabbit out of their hats, therefore, can align their discourses with massively consensual ones at societal level. Which increases the silencing effect of the argument on protesters claiming a more democratic and low-threshold university.

The argument is very easy to answer though. The issue is what EXACTLY governments are investing in? The fact of investment itself is entirely conditioned, as to usefulness and impact, by the actual aspects of university life that receive the investments. And looking at these, we see that such investments usually go to constructing or strengthening a high-end elite environment of competitive science: new state-of-the-art labs specialized in research that can be immediately converted into market value. Or some “top” recruitment of celebrity professors capable of attracting loads of new students. “Low end” activities, on the contrary, are usually the object of disinvestment (think of student facilities, adjunct academics, basic infrastructure).

So the issue is: where do the investments actually go to? After all, a company can say that it “invests” in its factories by repainting their façades.

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An interview with Jan Blommaert on research and activism

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Jan Blommaert 

Responses to a survey on this topic, March 2015 (courtesy Tina Palivos & Heath Cabot).

How would you define or describe research  and social action? Tell us a little bit about your background and your experience in both of these areas.

JB: Research is social action; the fact that the question separates both presupposes “social action” as an “abnormal” aspect of research, while research is always and inevitably social action: an action performed in a real social environment, and infused with elements from a preceding state as well as leading to effects in a posterior state.

The question, rather, would thus be which specific type of social action research would be, and I understand your question as pertaining to what one could call “activist research”, i.e. research that is critical of existing social relations and attempts, at least within the boundaries of research, to amend or alter them, usually in favor of a more equitable or balanced idea of social relations.

Such activist research, I would argue, takes sides in the sense that, based on a preceding analysis of social relations, researchers decide to side with the weakest party in the system and deploy their research in an attempt to provide that weaker party with new intellectual tools for addressing their situation. These tools can be self-analytic – to provide an accurate analysis of the situation of systemic inferiority in which the group is placed – or general-analytic – a critical analysis of the entire system with its various positions and challenges; and such tools are invariably discursive: the forms of analysis provide new discursive, argumentative and representational tools.

Briefly describe academic knowledge or know‐how? Activist knowledge or know‐how?

JB: Knowledge is one, the discourses in which knowledge is articulated are the point here. “Activist”, as in the description above, represents a discursive scale level in which “esoteric” academic knowledge is converted into discourses of wider currency (“simpler” discourses, if you wish), without sacrificing the analytical accuracy and power of the academic discourses.

Do you see them as distinct? If yes, how? How do they overlap, if at all?

JB: Note that the function of both discourses is different; while academic discourse is there to circulate in and convince small circles of peers, activist knowledge must circulate in and convince far broader audiences and systems of mediation (e.g. mass media).

In your experience, how do these areas complement each other?

JB: Personally, I could never find sufficient satisfaction in “pure” academic work if it would lack the dimension of advocacy and appeal to broader and more complex audiences. Science does have the potential to change the world, so one should not be satisfied with just changing the academic world alone. As a scientist, we all have a duty towards the power of science: to use it carefully, justly and for the benefit of humanity, not just a small subset of it. Being a scientist, for me, commits us to these fundamental humanistic duties.

In my case, I complemented my “purely” academic oeuvre always with the writing of low-threshold, Dutch-language books (12 or 13 by now), converting research achievements into texts that could be used in grassroots mobilization, professional training or general-interest reading and instruction. This activity comes with a great deal of lecturing and debating for the audiences addressed by the low-threshold books, which is both a lot harder than academic lecturing (academics are usually very civil and polite towards one another), and a lot more rewarding (convincing and changing the minds of an audience of 300 schoolteachers, train drivers or longshoremen gives one a sense of relevance rarely matched by convincing a handful of academics).

For you, what are the tensions or conflicts between activism and academic work that you have come across? What would you do (or have you done) to resolve these conflicts or tensions? 

JB: The conflicts are diverse:

-No real career bonuses can be obtained for “advocacy” work, if it doesn’t come with “purely” academic aspects; a real problem, specifically for junior researchers. In my research group, we also “count” advocacy outputs.

-A permanent battle against stereotypes of the researcher as ivory-tower fellows out of touch with “reality” (we produce “theory” as opposed to “reality”). Easy to remedy: just talk about reality, show relevance in their terms

-Debate is far harder, more violent and sometimes highly unpleasant in the wider public arena; one must be able to withstand brutal public allegations, insults and accusations. It’s not a good place to be in for sensitive souls.

But let me also address the advantages and benefits. In my experience, a connection between research and activism improves research. If you wish to solve one single real-world problem of one single individual, you quickly discover the inadequacies of our toolkits and the demand to come up with better and more precise science. If I have ever made “breakthroughs”, it was because I had a sharp awareness of the fact that someone’s life literally depended on it. Believe me, that is a powerful engine.

What do you think are the most important and necessary ways in which research and social action could be linked, bridged, or integrated?

JB: All science should benefit humanity, general interests rather than specific ones. In methodology, we attempt to achieve this by means of generalization from isolated facts (i.e. theory). And too little is done, in actual fact, to make this mechanism into a general educational principle for all.

Are there any stumbling blocks or concerns you would have around projects that seek to bridge or bring together research and social action, and academic and activist worlds, to create modes of knowledge and collaboration? How might these be ameliorated?

JB: My very first answer addressed the presupposition underlying your question: the fact that “social action” is seen as separate from scientific action, and I see this as a major problem, an “ideology” if you wish, in which research is seen as in itself value-free (“objective”), to which “value” can be added after research, either as hard cash (licences, patents, industrial contracts etc) or as soft capital (impact on the nonacademic field, as it’s called nowadays). It is a crazy assumption which denies the fundamental sociological given of research: that it is, like any social action, a historically, socioculturally and politically situated activity. I always ask the question “why now?” when addressing research questions – how come we find this a researchable question here-and-now and not, for instance, in the 1970s of 1990s? The real answer to this question leads us into an analysis of scientists as people addressing problems from within a subjective position, defined only partly by “objective” facts of science and far more by the concrete social positions from which they attack questions and problems.

This is clearest (while often least understood) when we talk about research funding. There is a strong suggestion that external money is “neutral” in the sense that it does not pre-script research. In actual fact, it does script it substantively. If the EU opens a funding line on a particular topic, think of “security”, this funding line incorporates the current interests and needs of the EU (combating terror and transnational crime, for instance), excluding others (e.g. not combating these things). The “priorities” defined in such funding calls are always someone’s priorities, and rarely those of the scientists themselves. Scientists have to adjust to them, and this means that they have to adjust to subjective positions defined by funding bodies, within which they can then proceed to do “objective” research.

It is this myth about research – that it is in itself only “good” or “excellent” if and only if it is “value free” – that poisons the debate and the climate on science and society these days. It enables scientists to escape their accountability for what they are doing, and denies them the dialogue on effective social effects of which they should be very much part.

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We need to change, but don’t know why

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Jan Blommaert 

Students of the University of Amsterdam have occupied a number of university buildings, protesting against the lack of democratic transparency of their university’s decision-making practices. Inevitably, this local issue broadened into a larger issue of vision – the vision on academic training and research articulated for some years now by the Dutch government. And an even broader issue can be pasted onto that: the vision articulated by the EU regarding these matters, developed over the past decade and easily summarized in a number of key terms. Universities are suppliers of finished products for a labor market defined almost exclusively by private enterprise interests; research likewise needs to be immediately economically profitable – it needs to lead and contribute to “economic growth”, and note that “growth”, too, is defined almost exclusively in terms of private enterprise interests. As for science itself, it needs to be “value free” and “objective” as a practice, and “valorized” afterwards in terms of economic parameters – “value” becomes sales, the amount of money that can be made through a scientific product which, in itself, is not value-laden.

This definition of vision has, over the years, led to shifts in baseline funding structure for universities, to a logic of profitability at the level of university policy and management, and to so-called “hard choices” between disciplines and programs that were judged to be useful in light of this vision, and those that were useless. The latter, by and large, include the Humanities – it is not greatly pleasurable to be a professional philosopher at Dutch universities these days – and students are encouraged by means of “price setting” tactics (fee structure and student loans) to choose useful programs.

The vision is fundamentally anti-scientific, as it tends to exclude or marginalize exactly those forms of scientific activity that cause growth, if you wish, in science: explorative and speculative research, theory formation and hypothesis building. It replaces them by an ethos that stresses what is already known as the “safe” basis of academic training, rather than the limits of what is known and the principles of how to transcend them. The contemporary equivalent of Albert Einstein – a speculative and hypothesis-forming scientist not doing much useful stuff – would have a hard time finding an academic job these days. Output measuring systems, “valorization” appraisal and external funding targets, annual evaluation cycles, competitive assessment between peers – the organisational effects of this vision on academic practice – would prevent swift career mobility if he/she were appointed at all.

Critical response to these developments has been rife: the past years have seen a flurry of opinion articles in newspapers, public debates and grassroots activism combating this shift in vision both in individual universities, faculties and departments and in broader public fora. Often, such responses were quickly dismissed as reactionary – academics complaining about these changes simply opposed change in itself, it was claimed, they preferred the comfort of status quo (not questioning, of course, how comfortable the present status quo actually would be). Discussions on fundamental assumptions – the presuppositions used in debate – are thus evaded. There is hardly any substantial discussion in which the actual academic “producers” are involved; consequently there is hardly any debate on the particular nature of academic products and the specific conditions of production they demand. Generic management technique is enough, it seems.

Let us for a moment accept the vision and its assumptions. Debate on them has proven futile, as we have seen. Let us for a moment accept that academia needs to change into a better performing system of production, guided by management technique and defined by criteria of immediate economic usefulness; still one question needs to be answered.

Change defines a trajectory between two points: an anterior “inferior” stage and a posterior “improved” stage. Official documents never cease repeating this: universities need to “improve”, they need to become “more” of X and cease to be Y and Z, they need to “do better” and “score higher” on criteria set by management. Fine, but what exactly are the anterior and posterior states? Simply put: what is “wrong” and “inferior” about the present state of universities, and what would be the “ideal” and “improved” state we need to move towards? In business terms: what is the “target” of change?

To be more precise: if universities today host good numbers of “eminent” and highly performing scientists (and precisely those are often put in charge of the brainstorming for change), what is it that makes their past performance insufficient now? If their work belonged to an “inferior” culture of academic work, in which ways was it wrong? What is it in the present criteria for academic excellence that warrants redefinition? And in view of what? For this is never addressed: what is “good science” in this new vision? What are the criteria for excellence of the future world of science?

Current answers to this are recognized to be grotesquely unsatisfactory, even by those who define them. Increased numbers of articles in so-called “top” journals, and victories in battles over competitive funding (often overly narrowly defined in terms of funding sources) are offered as “objective” criteria for measuring quality – while Diederik Stapel “objectively” proved them false. So they are offered without much conviction, by lack of better stuff, even if almost everyone realizes that they have passed their sell-by date. And as for the “rankings” of individual universities in several international lists: even hard-nosed academic managers only mention them with sarcasm. Intellectually, no other criteria are offered.

So, please, let us have this intellectual debate and talk about academic relevance in terms of contents; let us stop hiding behind the curtains of so-called “measurable” quality and discuss the science that society really needs in the future. I say “society”, because private enterprise is just one of the stakeholders in this development – universities in the EU are currently overwhelmingly funded by society at large, not by private enterprise, so ownership entitlements are an issue here as well. Let us talk about what this society needs as “surplus value” generated by science. In doing this, we may rediscover that science has a value different from the sales figures it might yield, a value lodged in the work of science itself, not in its managerial and marketing handling and packaging.

What exactly are we currently doing wrong? And what exactly should we do better, in which specific ways? These are justified questions which even neoliberal policymakers and academic managers cannot dodge, lest they alienate the people who have to actually perform the change in their daily practices. Any decent manager will agree that a workforce lacking ownership of transforming processes will also lack the necessary motivation and direction for effective change. And that such directionless change is a recipe, not for improvement but for disaster.

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