[OPE-L:1422] Re: BBC, Marxism and the university and all that

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 5 Oct 1999 17:18:59 -0400 (EDT)

From: Jurriaan Bendien <djjb99@worldonline.nl>
Subject: Re: BBC, Marxism and the university and all that.


What I meant to say to you which I forgot, was that I do respect Andrew
Kliman a lot, even though my previous jibe might have suggested otherwise.
I believe his research is very important because (almost?) nobody else in
the English speaking world has done it. What I meant so say was is probably
best captured in what I believe to be a quote by a great logician, William
van Orville Quine. Quine said, if I remember correctly, "the university is
not the universe". And I think that is very important for academics to
remember, especially if they are social scientists. Personally, I am not an
academic. I lacked sufficient discipline and maturity to finish my Phd - in
those days I assumed I could do anything I tried but that obviously isn't
true, and I learnt that to my peril. But I do know something about
universities, and about academics who have tried very hard to defend the
autonomy of the university as a learning institution. And my gut feeling is
that it isn't true to say that the dominant ideas of the university are
necessarily the ideas of the ruling class. And anyway, if you want to talk
about the ruling class, it doesn't talk through ideas a lot. It leaves that
to intellectual specialists who have their own bent and ideosyncrasies
(after all, anybody can have an idea !). Rather, the ruling class talks
through actions, and its actions speak much louder than words. So whereas
Gramsci was on to something in the Prison Notebooks, we do have to fill the
story out a bit more.

In solidarity


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