BDS in the Neo-Liberal University


  • Ciaran O’Rourke


One of the sustaining myths of the neoliberal university today is that progress - be it in the arts, science, or political thought - is the purview of the researchers who populate its conference rooms and laboratories, its listings of higher academic staff. In fact, true political and cultural innovation often has less to do with expert opinion than with the educating influence of a crowd enraged, or more broadly with the forms of solidarity, protest and mutual understanding capable of uniting new majorities to a common cause. Real progress, in other words, is unpatented, has little or nothing to do with academic tenure, and, crucially, belongs to us all. Even in areas of life-saving  scientific research - which often rely on public funding to advance in the first place - progress may arguably be measured more by the uses to which such research is put (e.g. for-profit vs. for the general welfare) rather than by the development of this research as such.