Jason Read:


“If for decades the figure of the student was synonymous with social rebellion, with a ruthless criticism of everything existing, this may have less to do with theories taught at the university than with a particular practice, a particular experience of living. Universities uproot students from their homes, from their familiar and entrenched place in a familial order, and place them in a context halfway between communism (collective living, eating, sleeping) and anarchism. On top of this there is all of the time, free from work and other demands; time to spend in clubs and social activities. There is something radical about student life, independent of the classroom, in the way in which it produces new experiences. . . . This side [of college life] is countered by the neoliberal restructuring of the university . . . The liminal moment of the university, that made the subject position of the college student anomalous, neither child nor adult, is being eradicated. What we see in the university [today] is a neoliberal production of subjectivity . . . the refiguring of human beings as ‘human capital.’ Everything that makes up the human individual, intelligence, education . . . can now be understood as an investment of time and energy that makes possible future earnings. Every class, every extracurricular activity, every activity or club becomes a possible line on a resume.”

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