Friday, October 25, 2013

"Underlying so many aspects of the policies discussed in these two books is the fallacy of uniformly measurable performance. The logic of punitive quantification is to reduce all activity to a common managerial metric. The activities of thinking and understanding are inherently resistant to being adequately characterised in this way. This is part of the explanation for the pervasive sense of malaise, stress and disenchantment within British universities. Some will say that such reactions are merely the consequence of the necessary jolt to the feelings and self-esteem of a hitherto protected elite as they are brought into ‘the real world’. But there is obviously something much deeper at work. It is the alienation from oneself that is experienced by those who are forced to describe their activities in misleading terms. The managers, by contrast, do not feel this, and for good reason. The terms that suit their activities are the terms that have triumphed: scholars now spend a considerable, and increasing, part of their working day accounting for their activities in the managers’ terms. The true use-value of scholarly labour can seem to have been squeezed out; only the exchange-value of the commodities produced, as measured by the metrics, remains." ('Sold Out', Stefan Collini, LRB 24 October 2013)

An article that sits well with Idiotism by Neal Curtis.

Much of what I read these days seems to be deeply depressing & exhilarating by turns. Depressing in that it confirms the collapse of so much that I hold dear. Exhilarating in seeing inklings and hunches crystallised in print and realising that I am not alone in sensing things are spinning out of control.

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It seems my crystal ball was not so grubby ... ... resisting the temptation to say "told you so".