Sunday, 15 March 2015

Marina Warner's War

I've been reading Thomas Docherty's most recent book, Universities at War (2014).  It is a short, tight, and devastating critique of university 'reform' in the United Kingdom.  At the base of Docherty's argument is the suggestion that in a properly constituted democracy, the university institution is a locus of freedom and authority which serves to balance the power of state and capital.  In improperly constituted or dysfunctional democracies, such as those we live in at present, the university institution is bearing the weight of a massive assault on its freedoms, its values, its procedures, and the ways that it relates to its students and its staff.  Docherty, my old teacher from UCD, has been writing about these matters for a long time - dating back to his fine and ambitious  book Criticism and Modernity (1999), but with a gathering force and fury that runs through Aesthetic Democracy (2006), The English Question (2007), and For the University (2011).  Last year, he suffered an extended period of suspension from his job at Warwick.  Subjected to a university enquiry, he has now been vindicated entirely, and awarded his legal costs - a local victory in the war he describes.

Marina Warner, an equally distinguished scholar, critic and public intellectual, coming under arbitrary and careless management diktat last year, decided to resign her position at the University of Essex.  In the latest London Review of Books, she explains and justifies her position:

Learning My Lesson



No comments:

Post a Comment