Tag Archives: identity

Usurpation: the condition of the university?

Usurpation might better be seen as the condition of the university than as a problem for any particular aspect of that complex phenomenon: higher education today.

Taking Subramaniam, Perrucci, & Whitlock’s (2014) theoretical framework of social and intellectual closure we might see usurpation as – in parts and in places – an ameliorating response to both micro and macro-political movements that lead to closure. I suggest that we might take this further into a space which can only be opened and kept open (rejecting closure) by the usurper who by choice lays him/her self open to being ursurped and indeed facilitates the process of ongoing transformation, which is the driving energy of the academy.

In making this argument I draw on Popper’s (1996) positivism, Kuhn’s (1962) understanding of development in disciplines and Bhabha’s (2004) third space theory.

The pattern of usurpation described by Subramaniam, Perrucci, & Whitlock’s (2014) applies to any attempt to enter a power structure –  a university is a power structure – by agents desiring that power, whether to address wrongs done to them by that power structure and its relatives, or simply to seize more of whatever is going. When the usurpation is successful the usurper assumes the mantle of the power structure and then defends it against subsequent usurpation.

So we see entryism into disciplines of minoritarian or post-colonial themes: Women’s Studies, for example. We see traditional promotion routes to professorship usurped by teaching pathways (an interesting one Subramian et al spotted, which casts me as usurper!). We see the student experience usurping scholarship.

But as Kuhn should remind us: this is the way it works! The English curriculum which is so exercised by usurpation by Media Studies, itself was an entryist program usurping the Classics. And as Popper should remind us, this is to be celebrated. The problem is not usurpation but closure, which might be seen as resistance to being usurped.

References

  • Bhabha, H. (2004). The Location of Culture. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Kuhn, T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Popper, K. (1996). The Myth of the Framework: In defence of Science and Rationality. London: Routledge.
  • Subramaniam, M., Perrucci, R., & Whitlock, D. (2014). Intellectual Closure: A Theoretical Framework Linking Knowledge, Power, and the Corporate University. Critical Sociology (Sage Publications, Ltd.), 40(3), 411–430.

Online & Neuromarketing: because you’re worth it! Wow. It can be worth reading comments.

COPPA has played a important role limiting the data collection practices of online advertisers targeting children under 13. It has been a very effective safeguard. Anyone who actually researches the online ad business recognizes that: once you are 13, online marketers treat everyone the same in terms of behavioral targeting and other applications that threaten privacy. But if you are under 13, because of COPPA–you don’t see the same kind of targeted online marketing. Berkman should do a better job in its research providing its readers a more informed assessment of how online marketers have created what the industry calls a digital advertising “ecosystem.” The system is designed to collect tremendous amounts of data on individual users, track them everywhere [including merging online and offline databases instantly, so a user can be auctioned off to the highest bidder]and also deeply influence our behaviors. Companies involved with Berkman or Berkman staff are even using the latest advances in neuromarketing to create digital ad campaigns designed-in their own words–to influence our subconscious. When Berkman writes about COPPA and other online marketing issues, it should always prominently disclose [page 1] that it is funded by many leading advertisers–including Google and Microsoft [http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/about/support]. Mr. Palfrey should also ensure his work as a venture investor–including with online marketing companies–is part of that disclosure–especially to Congress and the FTC: http://www.hcp.com/john_palfrey
I hope Ms. Boyd will also address the extensive work done by her employer on online marketing–including its targeting of youth (for such things as junk food). See, for example:http://advertising.microsoft.com/research/Doritos-Xbox; She should also examine its efforts on neuromarketing:http://www.emsense.com/press/game-advertising.php
This is a brief comment.

This is a comment by Jeff Chester on a post by danah boyd about the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. danah’s article opened my eyes to the real reason for the requirement that one be 13 or over to set up a Facebook account (nothing to do with safety). But Chester’s comment, while maybe harsh in its implications for the Berkman Centre, exposed and evidenced a whole set of practices that we probably knew were going on, but didn’t really want to believe were going on. To quote myself: “When you think it can’t get bigger, it gets squared and squared again…”

Posted via email from George’s posterous

Digital Humanities and the #alt-ac track – but why need it be centered around the “academy”

the #alt-ac label speaks to to a broad set of hybrid, humanities-oriented professions centered in and around the academy, in which there are rich opportunities to put deep — often doctoral-level — training in scholarly disciplines to use. Recent #alt-ac conversation online additionally tends to focus on the digital humanities, a community of practice marrying sophisticated understanding of traditional disciplines with new tools and methods. The digital humanities constitute, in my opinion, the best gig in town — attracting scholars who exhibit restless, interdisciplinary curiosity, mastery of relevant research tools and methods (old and new), and uncommon comfort — in a world that defines expertise like this — with a general assumption that practitioners are jacks-of-all-trades.

Or, rather, ought the “academy” be equated with the “institutions” of higher education, which, now, seem to be serving the community of scholarship so poorly.

Posted via email from George’s posterous