File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2004/bourdieu.0411, message 38

Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 20:48:38 +0200
Subject: [BOU:] Re:Re: Home of Bourdieu


I'm not sure anymore what we are disputing. It seems things aren't 
exactly the same in North America and in Europe. Here universities 
are state universities, i.e. publicly funded, acting and serving on a 
state budget base, doing things the uni laws require. That applies 
also on computing centres (uni cc's). I think there's nothing 
miraculous about setting up the facilities. Indeed, it's as laborous 
as any technical work. I knew few people who went to the private side 
because of the stress caused by the hassle of uni cc environment. 
However, once the facilities up and running - from the viewpoint of 
end-user like me - then they surely are there, as if waiting someone 
to use them.

When I spoke of public duty of universities - not of computing 
centres - I had in mind your original question:

"I am seriously asking. Do you have some ethical precept that says 
mailing lists should be run for free?"

My answer was and is: yes, I have, if not ethical, at least in a 
certain sense normative idea of public institution like university to 
do its share of public services, provided that list contents are of 
any intellectual/cultural worth. I don't have a slightest idea how 
this sounds in a probably a lot more competitive society like yours, 
but up here this isn't exactly a renegade idea.

(Actually, here in Finland the government maintains that universities 
have certain responsibilities in relation to competitiveness of the 
society on the global market etc. etc. Call it totalitarian or 
whatever - that's the name of the game today whether we like it or 
not. To exaggerate a little: ministry of education sets new criteria 
for unis faster than anyone can meet them. In short: at least here 
unis do have certain public duties for the benefit of society. - 
However, the idea of "duty" I share isn't exactly politically correct 
utilitarianism, like the dominating policy is, but a value-
theoretical view: unis must accommodate themselves to contemporary 
culture in order to have serious cultural value today. Part of that 
is providing (material and intellectual) tools for enhancing 
reflective social discussion - and god knows there's lot to do on 
that front. In a way, it's in a budget of a unis even to participate 
in providing some of these tools.)

We can continue about that tomorrow. Now I got to go home. It's time 
for the supper.

Sincerely, Jukka L

> You talk about this as if these things miraculously and sponanteously
> sprung out of the fertile soil of the institutional environment. 
> Listservers, like any computer software, require money and human labor
> to be set up and to run.  They are not just "there", "waiting". 
> Somebody labored to set them up for a specific purpose on a hardware
> that somebody paid for, for a specific purpose.  And these things
> consume resources.  Somebody has to pay for those, and somebody has to
>  maintain them with their labor. (...)



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