Book: Discourses of Crisis and the Study of Religion
Chapter: 4. Deploying “Crisis” for the Financialization of Higher Ed: Platform Capitalism and the Information Society
What are the consequences of framing higher ed as “in crisis”? What delegitimizing work does it do, and for whom and for what purpose? Taking seriously Aaron Hughes’s exploration of “crisis” as a discursive construction, we can ask how it is used, by what social actors, and for what purposes. This chapter serves as an example of the consequences of framing an institution “in crisis” by exploring the “budget crisis” in higher ed, whose interests that serves, and how that relates to very real problems of equity for people. The university is obviously no bastion of democracy and transparency, but always constructing it in terms of “crisis” (both funding and culture-wise) masks the fact that it does have the institutional infrastructure to caretake information and the public trust that becomes the basis of identity formation in an information society.