Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mai 68 : une révolution sociale



NY Times photo essay: Paris, May 1968

IHT: May 1968 - a watershed in French life
Reuters: Forty years on, France still fascinated by May 1968

And let's not forget that today is International Worker's Day.

The Brief Origins of May Day: "The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today."

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

How The University Works

I recently read the introduction (pdf) to Marc Bousquet's new book, How The University Works, and this bit is really sticking with me:

"Degree in hand, loans coming due, the working partner expecting a more fair financial contribution, perhaps the question of children growing relevant, the degree holder asks a question to which the system has no answer: If I have been a splendid teacher and scholar while nondegreed for the past ten years, why am I suddenly unsuitable? Nearly all of the administrative responses to the degree holder can already be understood as responses to waste: flush it, ship it to the provinces, recycle it through another industry, keep it away from the fresh meat. Unorganized graduate employees and contingent faculty have a tendency to grasp their circumstance incompletely—that is, they feel 'treated like shit'—without grasping the systemic reality that they are waste. Insofar as graduate employees feel treated like waste, they can maintain the fantasy that they really exist elsewhere, in some place other than the overwhelmingly excremental testimony of their experience.

This fantasy becomes an alibi for inaction, because in this construction agency lies elsewhere, with the administrative touch on the flush-chain. The effect of people who feel treated like waste is an appeal to some other agent: please stop treating us this way—which is to say to that outside agent, 'please recognize that we are not waste,' even when that benevolent recognition is contrary to the testimony of our understanding ... The difference in consciousness between feeling treated like waste and knowing one’s excremental condition is the difference between experiencing casualization as 'local disorder' (that authority will soon rectify) and having the grasp of one’s potential for transforming the systemic realities of an actually existing new order. Where the degree-holding waste product understands its capacity for blockage and refuses to be expelled, the system organizing the inside must rapidly succumb."

I feel my excremental condition. Bring. It. On.

See also: Bousquet's How The University Works Blog and Tiziana Terranova and Marc Bousquet, Recomposing the University, Mute Magazine, 2004

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