Guess the subject taught by this professor

From Liberal Conspiracy:

The Sussex University sit-in against privatisation is in its third week. Josie Long and Mark Steel have performed on-site. Will Self and the university’s MP Caroline Lucas have been to speak.

Support has come from Billy Bragg and Frankie Boyle, not to mention professors and public figures worldwide. Owen Jones and Laurie Penny come next week. Even Malcolm Tucker has sent his best wishes!

Sussex University proposes mass outsourcing of 10% of the workforce, 235 individuals, and vital services like security, care of student residences and catering. Every day hundreds are part of the occupation. They hear a stream of lectures by supportive academics from Sussex and elsewhere. And they dance. Affected staff send food, letters, and call in, in contrast to the management claim that the 235 oppose those occupying on their behalf.

The occupation is a last resort. It’s a widespread topic of discussion at Sussex that there’s no meaningful consultation. Adult education has been closed down, a high-prestige research unit moved from its specially designed building, and 112 employees made redundant three years ago. In these cases staff feel discussions with them started after the decisions were made, or not at all.

Staff and student unions feel that managers had decided on outsourcing before talking to them. Meetings seem to be so the management can say they’ve had them, but empty of substance. The sit-in is searching for dialogue. They invited the Vice-Chancellor to their hub for talks. There’s no sign of him yet.

There isn’t much evidence of, well, evidence behind the proposals. The management say there’ll be no redundancies. Yet the 235 have been offered severance and retirement. They say pay and conditions will stay the same. But admit that pensions will be much worse. After staff have transferred, new contractors are free to hire on lower wages and holidays or sack employees.

The management say the change is to free up funds for more students. Yet applications to universities are plummeting because of the eye-watering fees being charged.

Sussex is renowned for community. But outsourcing would create a divided university: its own employees, workers transferred to contractors, transient staff provided by private operators like G4S, and students becoming customers rather than citizens of the university. Services would be accountable to external privateers, not the campus society.

It’s the thin end of the wedge. Outsourcing across universities will follow. It will expand to education where only courses that turn a profit will run. This will restrict learning to the rich and rule out what doesn’t make big bucks. Don’t plan on taking a degree that involves thinking critically. Or support the sit-in, which does.

Go on, guess what subject this person teaches.

Go on.

….

…..

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Yup, you guessed right:

Luke Martell is Professor of Sociology at Sussex University

17 thoughts on “Guess the subject taught by this professor”

  1. “And they dance.”
    You sure it’s not Craig Brown doing a parody of a Sussex University sociology academic?

  2. A Betjeman moment, “Come friendly bombs and fall on Laurie Penny, Will Self, Owen Jones, the smug, the self righteous, the etc”

  3. Let them join the real world.

    Government funding for soft subjects like Sociology and Political Science should be halved every year until only a penny per year is left.

  4. and students becoming customers rather than citizens of the university.

    You see, not having ever been a Cam-punter myself, this is what I don’t understand. Why do stoodents think they are anything other than customers? How is one a “citizen” of a University? This goes right through the decades of stoodent activism- why do they think they are doing anything other than attending a school for a fee?

  5. Max (#7), that’s slightly masked by an increase in overseas applicants (who were always charged full fees so aren’t affected by the recent change), but your point still stands.

    UK applicants were 544,752 in 2012, which is a whisker up from the 544,285 in 2009.

    It was only 454,148 in 2007, which seems like a good initial target.

  6. Ian B,

    “You see, not having ever been a Cam-punter myself, this is what I don’t understand. Why do stoodents think they are anything other than customers?”

    It’s not the students, it’s the lecturers. Since tuition fees, students have started to act more like customers, because they’re paying for it.

    The educational establishment has to throw a lot of woo around about university, because economically, it’s hugely destructive. They will always try to dismiss the arguments about the economic values of degrees in favour of vague things about being a more rounded person, because for a lot of courses, you’re basically wasting 3 years of your life and thousands of pounds.

  7. It may be that I am just a sad relic but I understand that “University” is from “universitas magistrorum et scholarium”, which roughly means “community of teachers and scholars [see Wikipedia].

    So yes, the idea that the scholars are an integral part of the university, not just its customers , is not completely alien.

    For example, universities were sometimes run by the students, e.g the University of Bologna in its early days

    Not that I support the woo in the least but, you know, just saying.

  8. HMG, should pay students fees and accommodation costs, for those who wish to read pure science particularly; engineering, mathematics, computer engineering and advance research physics and chemistry + micro-biol, dentistry and medicine – but make the last two far more academically rigorous.

    Then, double, or triple the fees for subjects such as, Sociology, Politics, PPE, economics and humanities.

  9. “Why do stoodents think they are anything other than customers?” I can’t speak for universities that are modern and English, but in the ancient and Scottish the students (used to) elect The Rector, and the graduates formed the final governing body.

    In my day we felt like customers to the extent that we would drive out of the lecture hall a lecturer whose incompetence was unbearable (the lecture hall where Clerk Maxwell learned his physics used to bounce beautifully when we got a good stamping going) but there was also no doubt that many of us did feel we were part of a “community of teachers and scholars”. Hell, I stayed in touch with a chap of about forty who’d taught me, and we published research together when he was nearly eighty. Mind you, the rot isn’t recent – the rot started when armies of intellectual inadequates was sent to university at all.

    P.S. Anything disobliging said about a modern Vice-Chancellor is likely to be as accurate as anything disobliging said about a Professor of Sociology i.e. a grotesque understatement.

    P.P.S. As I almost always say in the context of the future of the Universities – Dissolution of the Monasteries.

  10. “Why do stoodents think they are anything other than customers?” I can’t speak for universities that are modern and English, but in the ancient and Scottish the students (used to) elect The Rector, and the graduates formed the final governing body.

    In my day we felt like customers to the extent that we would drive out of the lecture hall a lecturer whose incompetence was unbearable (the lecture hall where Clerk Maxwell learned his physics used to bounce beautifully when we got a good stamping going) but there was also no doubt that many of us did feel we were part of a “community of teachers and scholars”. Hell, I stayed in touch with a chap of about forty who’d taught me, and we published research together when he was nearly eighty. Mind you, the rot isn’t recent – the rot started when armies of intellectual inadequates was sent to university at all.

    P.S. Anything disobliging said about a modern Vice-Chancellor is likely to be as accurate as anything disobliging said about a Professor of Sociology i.e. a grotesque understatement.

    P.P.S. As I almost always say in the context of the future of the Universities – Dissolution of the Monasteries.

  11. “Then, double, or triple the fees for …. PPE ”

    No. Always think the Chinese had this right.

    “You wish to enter a career in government, lad?Good choice. Now there’s just the little matter of the operation. I’ll get my knife. It’ll hardly hurt & I’m sure you won’t miss them.”

  12. It’s Howard Kirk!

    “Luke’s main interests are in political sociology, especially socialism and social democracy, social movements and globalisation.

    The Sociology of Globalization, 2010, looked at: concepts and perspectives on globalisation; the history of globalisation; technology, media and globalised culture; global migration – problem or solution?; the global economy and global inequality; the nation-state and social democracy under globalisation; cosmopolitan democracy and the anti-globalisation movement; and American power and war.

    In the late 1990s Luke’s work was mainly on New Labour and the third way resulting in two books with Stephen Driver, New Labour, 1998, and Blair’s Britain, 2002. The edited Social Democracy: global and national perspectives, 2001, looks at changes and national differences in social democracy, its relationship to Europe and globalisation, and criticisms and alternatives. The Third Way and Beyond: criticisms, futures, alternatives, co-edited, 2004, examines critical perspectives on the third way in relation to equality, the state and community.

    Ecology and Society, 1994, looked at political and sociological dimensions of environmentalism. Topics covered in the book include: ecology and industrialism; the sustainable society; green philosophy; the green movement; ecology and political theory; rethinking relations between society and nature; and the future of environmentalism.

    Luke’s PhD thesis in the late 1980s looked at revisionist socialist responses to social changes such as globalisation, the rise of the new right and post-fordism. The thesis focused mainly on associational socialism and market socialism. The main outcome of this was two articles on new ideas of socialism in the journal Economy and Society in 1992 and 1993.”

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