Today I went to an awesome presentation held by Prof. Raewyn Connell called “Intellectuals and Universities in Neoliberal Times”. I only went because the wonderful Diane said she couldn’t make it and would I mind given it’s in my field. Oh wow!
There are moments were things line up, become clear, the clouds part, it is so obvious why didn’t I see it before. This presentation was this moment.
She wasn’t saying anything I didn’t really already know but she did have a cool slant to take which is always nice. And her presentation style was really good. She used people images to tell the story and for me that was something I’d not seen before. A clever approach. However, it was at the end when she started to talk solutions. What can be done? That’s where I realised the point of my thesis is to provide information so people can seek change. Prof Connell said she’d tried economic rational discussions to attempt change but this doesn’t really work with university management, in her experience. This resonated as I had often tried to use logic in the face of university management only to be met with blank stares and power struggles. What Prof Connell suggested was activism. And what activism needs is a catalyst.
Now if Laclau and Mouffe have taught me anything, it’s that revolution is an organic process where a range of factors combine together in a way that can’t really be planned. What is needed though is antagonism and logics of equivalence and difference existing at the same time. My thesis will show the logics and will hopefully provide understanding for possible leverages to use to become active in changing the direction of university education in Australia, because quite frankly, the picture painted today was very grim indeed.
Thank you Diane – I owe you!