Think­ing: increas­ingly deval­ued except as a tech­nical prac­tice (Wendy Brown).

En el blog Critical Legal Thinking: Law and the Political, publican una entrevista a la profesora e intelectual Wendy Brown, que vale la pena leer en su totalidad. Destaco aquí este fragmento en tanto alude al tema de los intelectuales públicos y el quehacer de los maestros. Dejo por aquí la entrevista completa, que tiene importantes comentarios en torno al concepto democracia y lo político. 

Tumba de Simone Weil, Ashford, Kent, UK.
C&J: How do you con­sider your own role, and that of left­ist intel­lec­tu­als, in think­ing about Occupy and other move­ments and changes at the moment? What can the polit­ical the­or­ist do when on the one hand, we seem to have become teach­ers in a kind of factory-​like edu­ca­tional envir­on­ment, and on the other hand, the clas­sical role of the pub­lic intel­lec­tual is no longer unprob­lem­at­ic­ally there. On the one hand, the chan­ging media envir­on­ment has seemed to dis­lo­cate the clas­sical fig­ure of the pub­lic intel­lec­tual, on the other hand, it seems to also have been bound up with a set of pretty prob­lem­atic, epi­stem­o­lo­gical, social under­stand­ings, quasi-​paternalistic author­it­arian in some respects. There are obvi­ously many dif­fer­ences between pub­lic cul­tures which frame the pub­lic intel­lec­tual in very dif­fer­ent ways, and which plays a very dif­fer­ent his­tor­ical role in the US, in France, in Ger­many, in the Neth­er­lands, etc. But we were won­der­ing what you thought about the self-​understanding of crit­ical the­or­ists today.
Brown: I find the fet­ish­ism of ‘the’ pub­lic intel­lec­tual par­tic­u­larly annoy­ing today, so let me instead say some­thing about what crit­ical the­ory can offer, or how it artic­u­lates, with these polit­ical move­ments. On the one hand, I con­tinue to think that the most import­ant way that aca­dem­ics can con­trib­ute to what I’m going to call roughly a ‘left agenda’ (recon­ceiv­ing demo­cracy in a more sub­stant­ive and ser­i­ous way, address­ing the organ­iz­a­tion of life by cap­ital, re-​establishing the value of pub­lic goods). The most import­ant thing that we can do is be good teach­ers. By that, I don’t mean teach­ing those issues; I mean teach stu­dents to think well. Whatever we are teach­ing, whether it’s Plato or Marx, eco­nomic the­ory or social the­ory, Niet­z­sche or Adorno, we need to be teach­ing them how to read care­fully, think hard, ask deep ques­tions, make good argu­ments. And the reason this is so import­ant is that the most sub­stant­ive cas­u­al­ties of neo­lib­er­al­ism today are deep, inde­pend­ent thought, the mak­ing of cit­izens, and lib­eral arts edu­ca­tion as opposed to voca­tional and tech­nical train­ing. We fac­ulty still have our classrooms as places to do what we think is valu­able in those classrooms, which for me is not about preach­ing a polit­ical line, but teach­ing stu­dents that think­ing is fun­da­mental to being human and is increas­ingly deval­ued except as a tech­nical prac­tice. This is an old claim, from the Frank­furt School, but it’s on ster­oids now. So I believe our most import­ant work as aca­dem­ics is teach­ing stu­dents to think deeply and well. Our books come and go.

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