Syllabus for Winter (of discontent) Term
Syllabus Autumn Term 2010
Course: Higher Education, Neo-Liberalism and the State
Download the full pdf: syllabus_Uso
Our basic public services, we are told, are simply too expensive. They must be thrown under the wheels of the megalithic debt that bears down upon us. They must be privatised, corporatised and commodified. All this so we can ensure the continuation of a system that funnels wealth into the hands of a privileged few. This failed and flailing market system, we are told, is the only one that is possible, drastic cuts the only alternative, the fairest thing to do. Any deviation from the path laid out for us will unleash the worst imaginable, a media-imagined Worst that threatens from our darkened skies.
This course offers an emphatic No! to this description of our current situation, and sees instead a magnificent opportunity, a multiplication of possibilities, the opening of a space in which we might think about, and bring about, a fairer and wealthier society for all. In short: Many good reasons for strategic optimism!
High profile economists from all sides tell us that the cuts make no fiscal sense. This course seeks to move beyond this point, to interrogate how the cuts make sense, to whom, according to which logic. It urges a rampant questioning of the ideological basis for the relentless privitisation and privation of our lives: Are these cuts incoherent, as some have said? Or is this a specific move/set of moves on the part of neo-liberal capital? Are labour, education, healthcare, and the environment, mere commodities, to be consumed by those who will redeem them as more capital? Can the opposition to cuts begin moving towards a society ‘fit for purpose’? Is it still easier to imagine The End-of-the-World than The End-of-Capitalism?