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Academia and the Luster of Capital

Academia and the Luster of Capital

Sande Cohen
Copyright Date: 1993
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Academia and the Luster of Capital
    Book Description:

    Ideas, says Sande Cohen, have attained “commodity” status in the academy, and knowledge is now seen as another capitalistic “industry.” In Academia and the Luster of Capital, Cohen both reveals and interrogates the specific and material workings of this economy of the marketplace of ideas. Cohen uses paradigms from Baudrillard, Lytoard, Deleuze, and Guattari to assemble a “war machine” against the well-oiled apparatus of self-preservation and self-reproduction of the academic institution. In detailed and concrete arguments, he challenges accepted theories of criticism, especially university-based myths. Academia and the Luster of Capital constitutes a compelling statement for the abandonment of legitimating, officiating paradigms of thought in all academic disciplines, and outlines possibilities for the emergence of the new in thought in action.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8496-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxiv)

    Even a critic as skeptical as Edward Said succumbs to the temptation of university, academic, employment: the university’s self-legitimations stand unchallenged. Said has it that in establishing connections between knowledge and politics, “each humanistic investigation must formulate the nature of [its] connection in the specific context of the study,” and that such studies are intended to aid in “promoting human community.”¹ This synthesis of internal and external factors is such that university-based intellectuals are guaranteed autonomy (“specific context”) in the name of the intellectual reduced to a social agent who agrees with Enlightenment—“investigation” becomes social improvement (“promoting human community”)....

  5. 1 What Is Criticism For?
    (pp. 1-27)

    The reactive aspect of academic writing is sometimes transmitted as officiality: ideas reduced to linguistic subsidizations of rank and authority. The apparatus that ensures that ideas are safe—appropriate, correct, transposable—is one and the same with expressions which Roland Barthes said offered themselves as closing “gaps” between naming and judging.¹ This signifying form is so pervasive that it can become pure denial (e.g., hordes of legal authorities serving university aggressions against farm workers in California, 1965–88) or be twisted into the shape of an academic formation that relies on significations turned into cultural weapons: “under patriarchy,” for example,...

  6. 2 The Academic Thing
    (pp. 28-62)

    To summarize the main arguments so far: (1) articulations founded upon order-words sustain conceptual reintegrations; these maintain academic self-absorption as a whole; “historical criticism” or criticism “founded” upon “history” is an unnecessary recoding of one or more versions of the endemic myth that criticism equals enlightenment; (2) criticism would be better off if it were groundlessandelicited meanings that tried to reach the limits of language rather than constantly producing the effect ofoversignification, a concept related to what Lévi-Strauss meant by the academicism of the signifier. David Harvey closesThe Condition of Postmodernismwith the coda that since...

  7. 3 Habermas′s Bureaucratization of the Final Solution
    (pp. 63-80)

    I turn now to a contentious and impossibly concrete yet never entirely specifiable topic, the event known as the Final Solution. My objective is to show, through a close reading, some of the differences that matter, particularly the cultural formations by which this event has become image and concept; my aim is to disorient contemporary criticism’s extractions of cultural use value. In the light of what has been said in chapters 1 and 2, this cannot be a matter of criticism having any straightforward linkage to the Final Solution, but of a thinking which has to again evoke thinking out...

  8. 4 The Disappearance of History
    (pp. 81-122)

    The idea of a “disappearance of history” is treated here as a concept relevant to discussions of cultural criticism inasmuch as it refers to theambiguityof “before/after” in establishing precedent, rank, hierarchy, the force of argument. As a concept concerning reality, “history” is invoked by dominant players as a strategic move and will be treated here as an essentially politicizing construct: “history” is involved when subject groups are engaged in the formation of a state, a government, codifications of sense, desire, and power. As I trace some conceptual reasons for the “disappearance of history” from contemporary Western societies—its...

  9. 5 Criticism and Art Events: Reading with Lyotard and Baudrillard
    (pp. 123-156)

    In a review of recent historical scholarship on the demise of the Old South, C. Vann Woodward evokes continuity between the “living memory” of past participants while the “full illumination by history [writing]” of its story accumulates. On one track, memory moves toward the past of actualityandtoward extinction in a future, while on another the historian is to get “behind” the “curtains” that have obscured this, and presumably any other, past. Historical writing is that future which rescues the becoming-inert of memory: “open sesame” is the phrase that Nietzsche used to awaken one’s countermemory of the flooding of...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 157-172)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 173-178)
  12. Index
    (pp. 179-184)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 185-185)