More about that relativ

Philip Goldstein pgold at
Wed Oct 5 05:31:57 MDT 1994

	We have several versions of what counts as a genuinely radical
academic. My version is that within academia matters are sufficiently
indeterminate for radical academics to establish a space for themselves.
Hence, the university does not necessarily and inevitably ensure the
reproduction of the system, and, hence, a number of exceptionally
influential radical academics have emerged. MacClean defines this space
in pedagogic terms, as making room for workingclass students and other
oppressed groups to think for themselves. In this version, academic
possesses some radical potential. Other versions from Chis, Doug, and
others examine the relationship between academics and the public, the
state, or the management. Here we are not discussing the internal
politics of academia but who academics work for -- finance or capital,
what public they have developed, and what political stances they take as
a professional group. Here academics are not truly radical because they
fail to cultivate a radical or progressive public, fail to take
sufficiently radical political stances as a group, or fail to work for
sufficiently nasty and oppressive bosses. I could argue that in the
social sciences and the humanities there are radical caucuses which meet
some of these criteria, but I am not sure that these are good criteria.
If we are going to deny that Althusser was a radical because the French
CP did not take a good enough position on the student rebellion of 1968,
the argument loses some of its interest.

Philip Goldstein


More information about the Marxism mailing list