Fleming, Peter – Dark Academia. How Universities Die

  • virtues & vices. The Academia is a place of virtues and vices. On the one hand, some scholars (such as Monika Kostera) lingered on the virtues. Their discovery was like the hero’s journey into the dark forest that come out into the light. On the other hand, other authors, and here I’m thinking at Peter Fleming, focus their lenses on vices. And in these cases, the discovery of the vices was like the same journey into the dark, except that at the end the hero reached the heart of the darkness. See Image 1
  • managers/ bureaucrats/ academics/ students. Each of the above-mentioned authors admits that the hero is accompanied in his journey. More specifically, according to Fleming, the managers are concerned with the impact that the Academia has in its different surrounding environments. For their part, the bureaucrats, located on an immediately lower level, work days and nights with metrics and evaluation systems. Although it is believed that the academics are in thrall by their love for a certain field of research, they are divided by cliques and conspiracies and each is aiming to achieve fame with or without their fellow others. Finally, the last echelon of the hierarchy is occupied by the millions of students who, as clients of the Academia, become indebted for life, hoping that once they would finish school, they will get a recognition that will propel them towards the Western dream – a carefree life in which all desires are fulfilled before even they take shape. See Image 2
  • super-structure/ sub-structure/ foundation. So far I have discussed the various colors of the Academia, as well as its different layers. Stated otherwise, in Fleming words, I presented this sector according to: i) official culture and ii) unofficial culture – both of which can be of two types: formal and informal. Therefore, I presented the super-structure and sub-structure of this edifice. Next, what I have to do is to say some words about its base, its foundation. Three elements are more important here: the economic factors (to the rhythm of which all the Westerners are marshalling), the political factors (which are said to have a capital role in the Est) and the cultural factors. See Image 3
  • all of us. I strongly believe that these stories haven’t presented all the darker and brighter sides. And probably it is only an illusion to say that some sectors are free of them, while others are full of them. Therefore, this is a problem that concern all of us: not just the academics, not just the salesmen and so on and on. But all of us. For it is about us – seen from a global point of view.

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  • Peter Fleming (2021): “Dark Academia. How universites die”, Pluto Press
  • Peter Fleming (2019): “Dark Academia. Despair in the neoliberal business school”, Journal of Management Studies, 57 (6), pp. 1305-1311
  • Monika Kostera (fortcoming): “The university of hope” (fragments)
  • Jürgen Rudolph (2021): “Book review. Fleming, Peter (2021). Dark academia. How universities die. Pluto Press.”, Journal of Education, Innovation and Communication (JEICOM), 3 (1), pp. 109-114

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