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Stay classy, David Willetts.
(0 replies because it's a Sunday and it's kinda sunny so everyone's probably outside)
i guess we can only hope that this results in a proliferation of academic research articulating why 'big society' is such a pile of shite. government might be able to prioritise research topics but they can't do anything about the conclusions...
that the best response to this would be to get arts and humanities researchers to unite in writing a £100m funding application for a project investigating the vacuity of the Big Society...
Fucking "clarification" of the Haldane principle my absolute arse. At least Stalin was honest about his intentions to restrict academic freedom. Fuck all of Willetts, Cameron and Cable - not surprising to find that the first two are philistine turdbaskets, but particularly sad that the last has chucked away what remained of his credibility.
(Await CG coming here to tell us that we shouldn't be spending millions on arts and humanities research in the first place)
...just crack out a Stalin comparison did you? Hang on, no, you did. Cripes. Round of applause for this guy please... well done.
Mussolini was very supportive of the arts in Italy in the 1930s and 40s. Let's be more like him.
Not the point. Soviet restriction of academic freedom was at least explicit and purportedly justified in principled terms. This, on the other hand, is a restriction of academic freedom under the guise of a "clarification" of the principle protecting it. So in that respect, Dave is worse than Joe ;)
As an aside, I don't trust The Guardian to report adequately on things like this, so I'll get my information from somewhere else I think.
Good picture of Willetts though.
and instead damn it by association with the Guardian. Irony?
I think that to think that this is a "restriction of of academic freedom" of the severity that you mention is an absolute nonsense. I think the Big Society, as has been realised so far, is drivel. I think that the forcing of universities to attribute funding to study it is ridiculous. Do I agree that it's a restriction of academic freedom of a level that can be analysed to this level of severity? Absolutely not.
But, that said, my only source of information on the issue is from The Guardian. A newspaper I do not trust. So I'll make up my own mind on this elsewhere.
Does this answer your point adequately?
but I'm not saying what you think I'm saying. Kind of wishing I'd never mentioned Stalin now (!), because the point is not that the severity of this restriction is on a par with those of soviet states. The point is that the government is trying to deny that this is a restriction at all.
that a lot of money gets spent on shit research. But you can obviously expect better decisions overall about funding distribution to come from impartial bodies than from the administration.
"you have to spend at least 5 hours of your spare time per week doing extra maths revision". They haven't told their child that they're not allowed to play football, learn the guitar or whatever. But they've straightforwardly restricted the child's freedom to choose what to do with their spare time.
but, for the benefit of readers who aren't you, the point of this analogy is to show that this *is* a restriction of freedom. Not saying anything about its justifiability.
you supported ideologically driven government interference in education
Something about all totalitarian regimes being left wing
Government effectively requires some academic resources to be spent on particular topics. CG denies this is a restriction of freedom. It clearly is.
in other words, the ultimate restriction of academic freedom, is a bad thing too?
The National Curriculum is not a Tory product
The Big Society is
that the National Curriculum isn't a "restriction of academic freedom" in the strict sense. It's a restriction of freedom regarding the content of compulsory education, yes - but we're talking here about academic research. Government prescription is easier to justify in the former context than the latter, for all sorts of reasons. But plenty of people would still argue that the National Curriculum is overly prescriptive.
Glad we agree on something!
It's a similar story in Aust. — although at least public universities still receive some block funding, even if the bulk of research funding is now distributed through the competitive grants system.
So, on the one hand, I'm surprised only to learn that research funding in the UK isn't already tied to "national interest" objectives. On the other hand, though, I'm gobsmacked at how brazen the conservatives are being in defining "national interest" in such politically partisan terms.
just in! volksgemeinschaft!
Why is the Big Society a research priority? Surely it will only cost £50 to have someone conclude that those who Cameron would like to volunteer for his Big Society, are already volunteering, for society.
I generally try not to analyse these sorts of things too quickly, given that sometimes you can argue that something is just poorly-worded, rather than just BAD. But this just seems like something out of a book. About 1950s Russia.
Out of focus but from the word shapes I think maybe:
- Lysenkoising non-Soviet Universities
If people conducted Uni research into every stupid meaningless buzz idea a government had then
a) they'd have no time to do anything else.
b) the fact a PHD thesis takes at least three years means all research subjects would be two years out of date as the government policy will have been long since abandoned.
but provision of funding should not be dependent upon it.
The problem is that it looks weak. really weak. Because it gives the feeling that the people putting the big society in place have no confidence in it; if it has a significant impact, then people will research it. If it fizzles out like a catherine wheel on a wet weekend then researching it would be a big fat waste of cash.
The government has said to the funding body: "hey, here's this money to go spend on research."
Academics then submit research proposals to the funding body. The funding body awards the money on merit (or university politics, or whatever, but they're not giving it to something totally stupid).
If people from outside the university sector (including the government) start scrutinising this process then it won't work properly because they'll ask dumb questions like: "do we really NEED research into Welsh performance art?" Well, to someone who isn't involved in the field where this seems relevant, the answer will probably seem like it is 'no'. But if I was an academic involved in whatever field this is relevant to (in this instance, I don't really know), then I'd probably think it was important, maybe not in itself but certainly in the interests of general advancement in that particular field.
So if we want research in the humanities to work properly, we need to leave funding decisions to the relevant funding bodies and not the government or the general public.
Also, you've committed a very common critical fallacy in political debates which is the fallacy from "its taxpayers money". People need to stop being told that this money is "their money". Its not: its the government's money, they've taken it from you so that you get to live in their country without them finding out you're not paying it and then arresting you (unless you've gotten away with it so long you're worth millions). Cheers.
depends on what comes before it and what will come after. It has to fit into a wider picture; both of the examples you've mentioned presumably have a complex and developed background and justification. The problem is with forcing a research focus is that it tends to produce not-very-good research: you need to have a good reason for asking the research question, for one thing. If you don't have that, it can be obvious that it was done not because of a need to ask the question, but because there was pressure or more likely coercion (see writeups of alt.medicine-funded studies).
As I said, it is an interesting topic, and the research probably should and would have been done. But better to let it come naturally. Keep the data complete, document the process of setting it up, and wait to see its impact first. (This could have been so better handled: many academics would happily freely consult on how to structure record-keeping and data collection during the setup period)
The Big Society is a lot of hot air
and essentially blackmailing academia into elevating such nonsense into proper academic discourse in order to validate it somehow is a thoroughly despicable act
Politicians have no right to set the academic agenda
Should politicians have the right to set their agenda?
I can't be bothered to look up funding but I imagine the science research councils get many times more funding than AHRC. I really don't see how this is that different.
And guess what? Their research agenda isn't set by the government. Honestly not sure what your point is.
isn't even remotely whether this is a valid topic for research or not. This is about academic freedom not only being subjected to political expediency but to a particular party's ideology and policy agenda.
Sorry, as you were.
Okay. Misinterpreted another thread. Consider myself trolled.
This alt is TheWza. This alt, and this one alone. Just kinda held on to it after all the alt talk earlier in the week when I registered it.
CG, after blates trying a few out, seems to have settled on Anarchy_1999 for now.
Maybe we're all CG alts.
or are we dancer?
good to know the governement is using only the best sources for its policy formulation.
Abuse of Government power? Check.
Misuse of Government funding to further the administration's idealogical ends? Check.
Something that will backfire on them horribly? Check.
Professor Colin Jones, president of the RHS, said the move was potentially dangerous for the future of academic study in the country. "It seems to me to be absolutely gross," said Jones.
so in love with th.
start giving a little more back to the industry that raised them up
the government should have as much practical influence in how research council money is spent as taxpayers have in how government money is spent
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) unconditionally and absolutely refutes the allegations reported in the Observer.