We stole this post from UC Rebel Radio: We thought it could explain some of the criticism about the “student worker”.

11 May

From the Preface to Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities

by Etienne Balibar

“For different reasons, I totally agree that, in present-day capitalism, generalized formal education has become not only ‘reproductive’, but productive of class differences. It is merely that, being less ‘optimistic’ than [Wallerstein] is, I do not believe that this ‘meritocratic’ mechanism is politically more fragile than the historical mechanisms for acquiring privileged social status that preceded it. This has to do, in my view, with the fact that schooling–at least in the ‘developed’ countries–is constituted both as a means for the selection of managerial staff and as an ideological apparatus well suited to naturalizing social divisions ‘technically’ and ‘scientifically’, in particular the division between manual and intellectual labor, or between the management and the performance of labour, in the successive forms those divisions have assumed. Now this naturalization, which, as we shall see, is by no means unrelated to racism, is no less effective than other historical legitimations of privilige.”

With that in mind we recommend you read this.

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2 Responses to “We stole this post from UC Rebel Radio: We thought it could explain some of the criticism about the “student worker”.”

  1. thosewhouseit May 13, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    Looks like Balibar remained the good student. From Althusser’s ISAs essay:

    “Nevertheless, in this concert, one Ideological State Apparatus certainly has the dominant role, although hardly anyone lends an ear to its music: it is so silent! This is the School.

    “It takes children from every class at infant-school age, and then for years, the years in which the child is most ‘vulnerable’, squeezed between the Family State Apparatus and the Educational State Apparatus, it drums into them, whether it uses new or old methods, a certain amount of ‘know-how’ wrapped in the ruling ideology (French, arithmetic, natural history, the sciences, literature) or simply the ruling ideology in its pure state (ethics, civic instruction, philosophy). Somewhere around the age of sixteen, a huge mass of children are ejected ‘into production’: these are the workers or small peasants. Another portion of scholastically adapted youth carries on: and, for better or worse, it goes somewhat further, until it falls by the wayside and fills the posts of small and middle technicians, white-collar workers, small and middle executives, petty bourgeois of all kinds. A last portion reaches the summit, either to fall into intellectual semi-employment, or to provide, as well as the ‘intellectuals of the collective labourer’, the agents of exploitation (capitalists, managers), the agents of repression (soldiers, policemen, politicians, administrators, etc.) and the professional ideologists (priests of all sorts, most of whom are convinced ‘laymen’).”

    • ucgradstrike May 13, 2011 at 10:18 am #

      We all have to learn from somebody.

      Imagine what it would be like if that somebody did not exist, however, or if s/he would not be allowed to teach because Marxism or ethnic studies are no longer part of the curriculum due to whatever poor capital predictions they can imagine, conjure, and make us believe?

      Then, those labor and racial “categories” would themselves be very difficult to identify (not that they wouldn’t exist).

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