Sunday, April 27, 2014

Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism, Democracy and the University as a Public Sphere

Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism, Democracy and the University as a Public Sphere:

Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism, Democracy and the University as a Public Sphere

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:44By Victoria HarperTruthout | Interview
Public Intellectual Henry Giroux speaks with Truthout about his new book and its exploration of how neoliberalism makes it harder for poor children to attend college and forces debt-ridden students into an intellectual and moral dead zone devoid of imagination.
Truthout contributor, director of Truthout's Public Intellectual Project and Truthout Board member Henry A. Giroux responds to questions about how the excesses of neoliberal politics have reshaped and subverted the democratic mission of higher education, as expressed in his new book.
Henry A. Giroux | Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education                                        Haymarket Books (March 18, 2014) Chicago, Illinois, 240 pages
Victoria Harper: Welcome, Henry. In your latest book, Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education, neoliberalism is a central organizing idea in shaping your view of education. Can you provide a general working definition of what it is and how it threatens higher education? 
Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism has many forms, but these forms share a number of characteristics.  Not only is it the latest stage of predatory capitalism, but it is also part of a broader project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital. More specifically, it is a political, economic and political project that constitutes an ideology, mode of governance, policy and form of public pedagogy. As an ideology, it construes profit making as the essence of democracy, consuming as the only operable form of citizenship, and upholds the irrational belief that the market cannot only solve all problems but serve as a model for structuring all social relations. It is steeped in the language of self-help, individual responsibility and is purposely blind to inequalities in power, wealth and income and how they bear down on the fate of individuals and groups. As such, it supports a theater of cruelty that is scornful of any notion of compassion and concern for others.  As a mode of governance, it produces identities, subjects, and ways of life driven by a survival of the fittest ethic, grounded in the idea of the free, possessive individual, and committed to the right of ruling groups and institutions to accrue wealth removed from matters of ethics and social costs. 
Under neoliberalism, desire is wedded to commodities and the private addictions of the market. As a policy and political project, neoliberalism is wedded to the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection of private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, the elimination of government regulation of financial institutions and corporations, the elimination of the welfare state and unions, liberalization of trade in goods and capital investment, and the marketization and commodification of society.  
As a form of public pedagogy, neoliberalism casts all dimensions of life in terms of market rationality. One consequence is that as a form of casino capitalism it Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism, Democracy and the University as a Public Sphere:

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