::fibreculture:: Message from Nick Couldry to the CSAA Conference

baden.offord at scu.edu.au baden.offord at scu.edu.au
Mon Nov 22 11:27:35 CET 2010


MESSAGE TO CSAA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
'A Scholarly Affair'

The
grip of neoliberalism on all sorts of public institutions, not just
universities, is tightening in many countries, with the alibi of the
still-unfolding global economic and financial crisis. In Britain, as
George Monbiot has recently pointed out, the huge deficit caused by the
need to prop up a delinquent banking sector in late 2008 provides good
cover for our new conservative/liberal Coalition government to
introduce as 'common sense' radical new marketization in the health,
university and other sectors. 

The Browne report published in
October 2010 not only frees up student fees so that they are likely to
treble, but more fundamentally removes all long-term government subsidy
for teaching except in priority areas: medical sciences maths, priority
languages (don't worry, media and cultural studies won't even get a
look in here, nor will any arts, humanities and social science
subjects!). Students are being encouraged to make future course
decisions exclusively on the basis of the future salaries a course will
generate, while in the meantime university finances are profoundly
destabilised: it is highly dubious whether in the long-term more choice
for students will result, but in good neoliberal style, 'more student
choice'  is the selling point of these reforms.

In the UK then
the critical voice of cultural studies has never been more needed to
expose the underlying logics of strategies of governance, and in
articulating alternative values. Only through values that directly
challenge the hegemony of neoliberalism can effective political,
cultural and social opposition be built to the destruction of public
institutions including, but not limited to, the university. 

I
realise that such struggles are hardly unfamiliar to scholars in
Australasia, with the Howard years still fresh in everyone's memory.
And, as I know from recent visits, you are still doing inspiring work,
extending the boundaries of what cultural studies can still mean and
achieve. 

The themes of this coming CSAA conference that Baden
Offord and others have so skilfully orchestrated are testimony to your
ongoing struggle against the hegemonic authority of market logics. 

I
wish I could be there with you, in order to draw much-needed
inspiration. Since I can't, here's all the very best for a vigorous and
heretical few days of discussion.

NICK COULDRY
GOLDSMITHS
UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
NOVEMBER 2010 

CSAA Conference
7-9 December 2010
Byron Bay
Website: http://www.scu.edu.au/research/cpsj/asa/index.html
Please join us for this annual gathering and also renew your CSAA membership.


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