The increasing corporatization of education has served to expose the university as a business—and one with a highly stratified division of labor. In Chalk Lines editor Randy Martin presents twelve essays that confront current challenges facing the academic workforce in U.S. colleges and universities and demonstrate how, like chalk lines, divisions between employees may be creatively redrawn. While tracing the socioeconomic conditions that have led to the present labor situation on campuses, the contributors consider such topics as the political implications of managerialism and the conceptual status of academic labor. They examine the trend toward restructuring and downsizing, the particular plight of the adjunct professor, the growing emphasis on vocational training in the classroom, and union organizing among university faculty, staff, and graduate students. Placing such issues within the context of the history of labor movements as well as governmental initiatives to train a workforce capable of competing in the global economy, Chalk Lines explores how universities have attempted to remake themselves in the image of the corporate sector. Originally published as an issue of Social Text, this expanded volume, which includes four new essays, offers a broad view of academic labor in the United States. With its important, timely contribution to debates concerning the future of higher education, Chalk Lines will interest a wide array of academics, administrators, policymakers, and others invested in the state—and fate—of academia.
Contributors. Stanley Aronowitz, Jan Currie, Zelda F. Gamson, Emily Hacker, Stefano Harney, Randy Martin, Bart Meyers, David Montgomery, Frederick Moten, Christopher Newfield, Gary Rhoades, Sheila Slaughter, Jeremy Smith, Vincent Tirelli, William Vaughn, Lesley Vidovich, Ira Yankwitt
In Critical Moves Randy Martin sets in motion an inquiry into the relationship between dance, politics, and cultural theory. Drawing on his own experiences as a dancer as well as his observations as a cultural critic and social theorist, Martin illustrates how the study and practice of dance can reanimate arrested prospects for progressive politics and social change. From experimental and concert dance to more popular expressions, Martin engages a range of performances and demonstrates how a critical reflection on dance helps promote fluency in the language of mobilization that political theory alludes to yet rarely speaks. He explores how Bill T. Jones’s Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land defies attempts to separate social ideas from aesthetic concerns and celebrates multiculturalism in the face of a singular national culture; he studies the choreography in rapper Ice Cube’s video “Wicked,” which confronts racialized depictions of violent crime; and he discusses how racial difference is negotiated by analyzing a hip hop aerobics class in a nonblack environment. Revealing how mastery of modern dance technique teaches an individual body to express cultural difference and display its intrinsic diversity, Critical Moves concludes with a reflection on the contribution dance studies can make to other fields within cultural studies and social sciences. As such it becomes an occasion to rethink the terms of history and agency, multiculturalism and nationalism, identity and political economy. This book will appeal not only to scholars and practitioners of dance, but also to a wide cross-section of people concerned with the study of political theory and the history of social movements.
Derivatives were responsible for one of the worst financial meltdowns in history, one from which we have not yet fully recovered. However, they are likewise capable of generating some of the most incredible wealth we have ever seen. This book asks how we might ensure the latter while avoiding the former. Looking past the usual arguments for the regulation or abolition of derivative finance, it asks a more probing question: what kinds of social institutions and policies would we need to put in place to both avail ourselves of the derivative’s wealth production and make sure that production benefits all of us?
To answer that question, the contributors to this book draw upon their deep backgrounds in finance, social science, art, and the humanities to create a new way of understanding derivative finance that does justice to its social and cultural dimensions. They offer a two-pronged analysis. First, they develop a social understanding of the derivative that casts it in the light of anthropological concepts such as the gift, ritual, play, dividuality, and performativity. Second, they develop a derivative understanding of the social, using financial concepts such as risk, hedging, optionality, and arbitrage to uncover new dimensions of contemporary social reality. In doing so, they construct a necessary, renewed vision of derivative finance as a deeply embedded aspect not just of our economics but our culture.
In this significant Marxist critique of contemporary American imperialism, the cultural theorist Randy Martin argues that a finance-based logic of risk control has come to dominate Americans’ everyday lives as well as U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Risk management—the ability to adjust for risk and to leverage it for financial gain—is the key to personal finance as well as the defining element of the massive global market in financial derivatives. The United States wages its amorphous war on terror by leveraging particular interventions (such as Iraq) to much larger ends (winning the war on terror) and by deploying small numbers of troops and targeted weaponry to achieve broad effects. Both in global financial markets and on far-flung battlegrounds, the multiplier effects are difficult to foresee or control.
Drawing on theorists including Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and Achille Mbembe, Martin illuminates a frightening financial logic that must be understood in order to be countered. Martin maintains that finance divides the world between those able to avail themselves of wealth opportunities through risk taking (investors) and those who cannot do so, who are considered “at risk.” He contends that modern-day American imperialism differs from previous models of imperialism, in which the occupiers engaged with the occupied to “civilize” them, siphon off wealth, or both. American imperialism, by contrast, is an empire of indifference: a massive flight from engagement. The United States urges an embrace of risk and self-management on the occupied and then ignores or dispossesses those who cannot make the grade.
While trillions of dollars came and went in the stock market boom of the 1990s, the image of "every man and woman a CEO" may turn out to be the era's lasting legacy. Business news, once reserved to specialized papers or sections of the larger news of the day, came to the forefront in cable television and in cultural images of how ordinary people, through the internet and other avenues could not only master their financial life, but move money and equity around with the ease of a financial titan. Financialization of Daily Life looks at how this transformation occurred, and how it is just now becoming a significant, and troubling, aspect of our political and cultural life.Randy Martin takes us through all of the aspects of our "financialization." He examines how the shift in economic life arose not only from changes in culture, but also from new policy priorities that emphasize controlling inflation over promoting growth. He offers a close reading of self-help literature that teaches parents how to rear financially literate children and to instruct adults in the fundamentals of fiscal management. He examines just what a society that treats financial investment as a national past time really looks like, and how that society is transforming the world.In a country rocked by scandals in accounting and banking, the identification ordinary citizens make with, and the risk with which they engage in, the stock market calls into question the very basis of our economic system. Randy Martin spells out in clear terms the implications our financial doings—and undoing—have for the way we organize our lives, and, especially, our money.
Catastrophes ranging from the travesties of financial markets and the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil well to the tsunami that struck northern Japan and the levees breaking in New Orleans are examples of the limits of knowledge. Author Randy Martin insists that the expertise erected to prevent these natural and social disasters failed in each case.
In Knowledge LTD, Martin explores how both the limits of knowledge and the social constructions of culture reflect the way we organize social life in the face of disasters and their aftermath. He examines this crisis of knowledge as well as the social movements that rose up in its wake. Martin not only treats derivatives as financial contracts for pricing risk, but also shows how the derivative works in economic terms, where the very unity of the economy is undone.
Knowledge LTD ultimately points to a more comprehensive reordering of the once separate spheres of economy, polity, and culture. Martin provides a new way of understanding the social significance of the all-pervasive derivative logic.
Reclaims Marx for today through a fundamental reconsideration of how his works should be read.
Why-and how-does Marx speak to our day? Seeking to reestablish the link between Marx, socialism, and the Left, this book negotiates the common ground between orthodox marxism and postmarxism to show how a reading of Marx elaborates the present. More than a claim about how Marx might be read for relevance, this book is also a forceful statement about how theory relates to political project and organization.
What, Randy Martin asks, does Marx have to say to the discourses of radical democracy, postmodernism, and globalization-all of which purport to solve problems that emerge in Marx's writings? A reading of Marx can in fact disclose the limitations of the contemporary modes of criticism, identifying the difficult conceptual problems that cannot be avoided or overcome.
Using readings of Marx to restage contemporary political discussions, On Your Marx reengages orthodox and postmarxist understandings in a critical and constructive conversation. In doing so, the book points to powerful new alliances between cultural and political theorists and activists, opening new possibilities for mobilization and social justice.
Randy Martin is associate dean of faculty and interdisciplinary programs and professor of art and public policy at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He is also the coeditor of the journal Social Text.
Tenured Bosses and Disposable Teachers: Writing Instruction in the Managed University exposes the poor working conditions of contingent composition faculty and explores practical alternatives to the unfair labor practices that are all too common on campuses today.
Editors Marc Bousquet, Tony Scott, and Leo Parascondola bring together diverse perspectives from pragmatism to historical materialism to provide a perceptive and engaging examination of the nature, extent, and economics of the managed labor problem in composition instruction—a field in which as much as ninety-three percent of all classes are taught by graduate students, adjuncts, and other “disposable” teachers. These instructors enjoy few benefits, meager wages, little or no participation in departmental governance, and none of the rewards and protections that encourage innovation and research. And it is from this disenfranchised position that literacy workers are expected to provide some of the core instruction in nearly everyone's higher education experience.
Twenty-six contributors explore a range of real-world solutions to managerial domination of the composition workplace, from traditional academic unionism to ensemble movement activism and the pragmatic rhetoric, accommodations, and resistances practiced by teachers in their daily lives.
Contributors are Leann Bertoncini, Marc Bousquet, Christopher Carter, Christopher Ferry, David Downing, Amanda Godley, Robin Truth Goodman, Bill Hendricks, Walter Jacobsohn, Ruth Kiefson, Paul Lauter, Donald Lazere, Eric Marshall, Randy Martin, Richard Ohmann, Leo Parascondola, Steve Parks, Gary Rhoades, Eileen Schell, Tony Scott, William Thelin, Jennifer Seibel Trainor, Donna Strickland, William Vaughn, Ray Watkins, and Katherine Wills.
Faculty members who care about the institutions of higher education where they work are often at odds with university management. In his forceful book, Under New Management, Randy Martin takes a novel, evenhanded approach to this gulf between professors, who feel a loss of autonomy, and administrators.
Martin imagines a political future for academic labor based on a critical understanding of the administrative work that faculty already undertake. He considers the differences between self-rule and specialized expertise and provides a case study of a New York City public school to show how kids and families respond to the demands of managerial productivity that is part of preparing students for college. Under New Management also considers changes faced by students, faculty, and administrators in light of this reworked social compact of professionals.