Giroux (2015). Breaking the Chains – A Strategy to Retake the University.

Giroux, H. A. (2015). Breaking the Chains – A Strategy to Retake the University. In University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (EPUB). New York: Routledge.

[Citing Comaroff & Commaroff, 2000 …]

“In the vocabulary of neoliberalism, the public collapses into the personal, and the personal becomes ‘the only politics there is, the only politics with a tangible referent or emotional valence.’ … Situated within a broader context of issues concerned with social responsibility, politics, and the dignity of human life, higher education must be engaged as a public sphere that offers students the opportunity to involve themselves in the deepest problems of society and to acquire the knowledge, skills, and ethical vocabulary necessary for modes of critical dialogue and forms of broadened civic participation.” (¶2)

“… intellectuals need to create new ways for doing politics by investing in pedagogical strategies that emphasize a relentless critique of the abuses of authority and power, on the one hand, and a discourse of possibility that performatively engages the promise of a democracy to come, on the other.” (¶4)

“In fact, the greatest challenge facing higher education centers on the collective task of developing a politics that extends beyond nation-state and reclaiming the academy as a democratic public sphere willing to confront the myriad global problems that produce needless human suffering, obscene forms of inequality, ongoing exploitation of marginalized groups, rapidly expanding masses of disposable human beings, increasing forms of social exclusion, and new forms of authoritarianism. Higher education is a moral and political enterprise that must struggle against all forms of dogmatism, commit itself to the most meaningful principles of an inclusive democracy, exercise a rigorous practice of self-criticism, and provide a vision of the future in which students can function as informed, critical citizens capable of actively participating, shaping, and governing a world that takes seriously the relationship between education and democracy.” (¶6)

“… it is crucial that academics and their allies fight to protect the jobs of full-time faculty, turning adjunct jobs into full-time positions, expanding benefits to part-time workers, and putting power into the hands of faculty and students. Protecting the jobs of full-time faculty means ensuring that they have the right to academic freedom, are paid a decent wage, and play an important role in governing the university. A weak faculty translates into a faculty without rights or power, one that is governed by fear rather than by shared responsibilities and is susceptible to labor-bashing tactics such as increased workloads, contract labor, and the suppression of dissent.” (¶7)

“If the forces of corporate and military culture are to be challenged, educators must consider enlisting the help of diverse communities, interests, foundations, social movements, and other forces to ensure that public institutions of higher learning are adequately funded so that they will not have to rely on corporate sponsorship, funding by defense and intelligence agencies, and the arms industries.” (¶9)

“… a space where students can figure out what is true, just, responsible, meaningful, and possible not only as a measure of individual success but also as part of the struggle to nurture a thriving democracy. … That is why intellectuals must take sides, speak out, and engage in the hard work of debunking corporate culture’s assault on teaching and learning.” (¶10)

“… the national security state … ruthlessly spreading democracy abroad with occupying armies, bombs, and high-tech weaponry.” (¶11)

Selected References

  • Comaroff, J. & Comaroff, J. L. (2000). Millennial Capitalism: First Thoughts on a Second Coming. Public Culture 12(2), 305-306.
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