What are Universities Good For? A good job, or a good life?

“The university is being transformed into an organization that fits smoothly into the capitalistic, technological structure of society as a whole. There used to be a bit of an arms length structure. So that the university was indeed useful to society, but at the same time, it didn’t work exactly the same way. It had its own internal rules. What we have more recently is that the rules from outside–job training, the production of research for various technical applications, things that can be made patented–these have become concerns right within the university.” — Ian Angus


In this bonus interview from our latest episode, “The New Debt Politics,” I sat down with Ian Angus, a professor of Humanities at SFU. Ian thinks that universities have been instrumentalized. We discuss why this has happened, and what people can to change it.

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Find out more about Ian’s book, “Loving the Questions”

“What are universities good for? This question has generated intense debate, particularly since the culture wars and Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind.” Where radicals once critiqued universities’ elitism, that argument has recently been turned on is head: many academic administrators and business leaders now see a university education as little more than job training for the information economy. Such pressures threaten universities’ ability to play the critical social role that justifies them.”

And checkout the full episode, here:



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Gordon Katic (@gordonkatic) has been student coordinator for the Terry Project for over two years, and in that time started BARtalk, and the Terry Project on CiTR 101.9FM. A former Ubyssey columnist, and now a student at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, Gordon is trying to use journalism to tell important stories about global issues.

8 Responses to “What are Universities Good For? A good job, or a good life?”

  1. Tom Roche

    Could you fix (on this page) the Soundcloud link to the bonus interview with Ian Angus? I see the fully-formed Soundcloud link to episode 52, which works. But above that (on this page), where the Soundcloud link to the bonus interview should be, there is only a Soundcloud image where the links to the download, player, etc should be. At least, that’s what I’m seeing with up-to-date Firefox: what do you see when you view this page?

  2. Tom Roche

    Thanks! both links work now, and I just downloaded the Angus interview.

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