The Double-Bind of/in Activist–Academic Research
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This chapter proposes that well-meant academic-activist rhetoric has always emphasised how communication technologies facilitate collection and collectivity. It argues that such rhetoric implies that the media can positively change society, either by allowing for new communities or by allowing researchers to create a ‘better picture’ of society. This idealistic rhetoric, however, facilitates the acceleration of neo-liberalism and its negative fallout, so that the moral imperative to render ‘the other’ into a communicating subject becomes an oppressive or coercive gesture. Well-meaning academic-activists therefore find themselves in a double-bind, as the possibility of saving different cultures requires their invisibility, while the survival of peoples requires their submission to totalitarian communications. The chapter analyses how this double-bind also emerges in projects that seek the renewal of the university.