Idealistic Self-Delusions and the Limits of Nostalgia
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This chapter mounts a sympathetic polemic against the various texts and movements which identify the problem of the contemporary university as one of neo-liberalisation and managerialism, and which hence want to return to the original university of culture or reason. The chapter instead claims that the essential problem resides in the university’s age-old entanglement in the reproduction of social stratification via ideals of community and transparency. The chapter in turn offers a critique of nostalgic notions of the university from the likes of José Ortega y Gasset, Henry Giroux, and Stanley Aronowitz. It concludes that today, resistance or emancipation for students or marginalised communities can no longer be enacted through claims to transparency and democracy, since these ideals have become complicit in technological acceleration.