[ENG] Why politicize the University


Spanish version.

The correct question is not “Why is the University politicized?”.
The student complains, maybe because of his lack of knowledge or his bad faith. There are those pickets that doesn’t let him to assist to the classes. Those are my rights, he says, and some morons cannot just take them away from me. The University shouldn’t be politicized, he says. But maybe that’s part of some pseudo-thought ill-considered, or simply one animal passion whereby if someone stop me doing the things that I usually use to I have to be furious and try to bite him.

I didn’t want to start this post with the typical aristotelical quote, in fact I disagree with it. Even tough it’s true that we are animals, I am not so sure that we are mainly political animals. Politics is something that happens inside the realms of culture (as opposed to the “nature world”) and that’s why I want to be cautious and don’t affirm that human being, to be such a thing, have to be political animals. According to some people, Politics is the art of the government. Politics, according to others, is not an art but a tecnique in need of experts which, put together in a particular area of knowledge, are able to tell us what to do. There are those (the newest ones) who claim that Politics has to be with “citizen circles”. Then, their decisions became part of the Parliament and we start again with the same problem we tried to avoid.

Thereby, I disagree with the anthropological definition of Aristotle and I take another one, funnier and full of possibilities: we are “homo ludens” (Huizinga).

But I don’t want to talk about this, although it is a fertile way of thinking. I want to talk about why these thoughts grow up in the mind of the new university students and why they think that this institution has to stay away from the Politics.

Firstable I have to say that, even if the human being is not political by nature (because no one have a nature), the University cannot be separated from Politics. This is a fact and however much you try it, it would be impossible because reality works that way.

Moreover, the concept of Politics that we associate with the statement “University is politicized” is a narrow and inadequated concept. If we, in example, live in Catalonia and we have teachers in our University that are always talking about the sovereignity or about the catalonian people and their right to self-determination, we are now facing a political feeling (no doubt about it) that is far away from concrete parties. But that is thinking about the same idea (independence).

Independence is a political issue which is very important in Catalonia, but it is still not (lato sensu) enough argument to say that one University is politicized.
I will explain myself. Politicizing is not about expressing a “hot topic” to the classroom, is not about creating thousands of asamblees or pickets to get some rights or demands. Politicizing has nothing to do with the creation of the same version of facts and to act to get the same consequences. Politicizing is not, therefore, to focus yourself in just a particular matter by leaving alone the rest of the political spectrum. Maybe this one is a partisan attitude.

Politicizing has to do with a more comprehensive approach. A Catalan University may be politicized even not doing protests for the independence. It may have a feminist association, LGBT, ecologist… wich acts across all the Departments of the University. It may happen that some students show during the classes or seminars their political interests. The “problem” that we have with the social sciences is that they always have ideology inside of them. It’s inseparable from their main postulates. In example, the Political Science (europeanism, the Human Rights worship…), and so on.

So, when you start talking about a politicized University think about one that contains all these attributes. If for some reason you still think that the University has to be depoliticized maybe you have not chosen well your career and perhaps it’s more convenient for you to attend a vocational school where its main concern is about technique, wich (in certain way) has nothing to do with Politics.

University has the duty and responsibility to integrate us in this free, complex and open world. The University that is not integrated in this world makes no sense and becomes itself the place where the intellectual poverty and conservatism remains.

When we talk about integrating the University into the society we shouldn’t think about integrate it into the business world because, definitely, business world is not the real world.
We’d better think about political and social integration.

Francisco Riveira

Istanbul, Turkey.

*This is my first original text in English. I know that I have committed grammatical or even orthographic mistakes but I hope that the practise will help me to get better.


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Francisco Riveira

Graduado en Filosofía. Investigador predoctoral en Filosofía y Retórica de la Ciencia.

Berlín, Alemania

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