Bill Readings

081019561536… since the nation-state is no longer the primary instance of the reproduction of global capitals, “culture”—as the symbolic and political counterpart to the project of integration pursued by the nation-state—has lost its purchase. The nation-state and the modern notion of culture arose together, and they are, I argue, ceasing to be essential to an increasingly transnational global economy. This shift has major implications for the University, which has historically been the primary institution of national culture in the modern nation-state. …
The significance of making a distinction between the modern University as ideological arm of the nation-state and the contemporary University as bureaucratic corporation is that it allows one to observe an important phenomenon. “Excellence” is rapidly becoming the watch-word of the University, and to understand the University as a contemporary institution requires some reflection on what the appeal to excellence may, or may not, mean.

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