Solidarity with UNSW colleagues. A quick note: the university sector is not ‘shedding excess staff’. It is being subjected to a concerted political effort to shift its organising values away from public education and toward economic growth.
The cost is not just to academic livelihoods. The cost is to the capacity of the public to access independent research and civic-oriented education, and to make rigorously informed decisions for ourselves about the world we’re living in. A website is not equivalent to a degree.
The politics of these changes, in other words, are not confined to the level of labour rights. At stake is the remaining shreds of an ideal of the public sphere not captured by the logic of the market, and of a community with values beyond cultivating competitive advantage.
Look, I cannot abide the academic humblebrag and don't love talking about this stuff. But I just won the @unimelb Chancellor's Prize for my PhD thesis on the history of Nauru, imperialism and international law, so I'm going to take this opportunity to share some thoughts. THREAD!
1. Compared to other countries the Australian tertiary sector is relatively strong, partly thanks to our fee-paying international students. But tertiary education is in danger of being reduced to a consumer service; and academic research, to little more than paid consultancy.
2. Given the consultancy industry is itself at best a consumer service - and at worst an ethical bin fire (apologies, consultant friends) - this should be concerning to all who value reliable, independent and self-critical sources of information and ideas.