Academics required to gear research to coalition slogan

If they want to get funding. Really.

Academics [in the UK] will study the “big society” as a priority, following a deal with the government to secure funding from cuts.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) will spend a “significant” amount of its funding on the prime minister’s vision for the country, after a government “clarification” of the Haldane principle – a convention that for 90 years has protected the right of academics to decide where research funds should be spent.

Under the revised principle, research bodies must work to the government’s national objectives, although the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that ministers will not meddle in individual projects.

It is claimed the AHRC was told that research into the “big society” was non-negotiable if it wished to maintain its funding at £100m a year….

…A principal at an Oxford college, who did not want to be named, said: “With breathtaking speed, a slogan for one political party has become translated into a central intellectual agenda for the academy.”


It seems to me the only hope is for the AHRC to understand ‘research into big society’ extremely broadly. E.g., “The big society’ contains the word ‘big’. The meaning of ‘big’ varies with context in some important ways. I will study contextual variation as a way to gain further insight into ‘The Big Society’.”

Sigh. Actually, that’s just farcical. And disgusting.

[Expletives deleted.]

7 thoughts on “Academics required to gear research to coalition slogan

  1. this is breathtaking. i can’t believe it’s real. …like something from dystopian fiction, really.

  2. bigness is a property of big societies. in order to understand what it is for a society to be big, we must understand bigness. is it a universal? a trope? a collection of actual and possible individuals?

    what is wrong with the UKrzy and the U$ right now????

  3. I am rendered speechless by the enormity of this – and the small-minded yet wide-ranging implications thereof.

  4. well, the pertinence of relating study to funding was really explained. but then study was given a ‘path’, and something it hasn’t really been taking care of on its own. oh, Study is FUNDED, and really the whole relation of money to represent the terms of relation to product, labor, and goods really shouldn’t be known to society in that it wouldn’t know it’s own relation to itself and the whole process of recognition of its Labor and activities as how it’s related to life, and involved in life. if money is a product that represents Labor or some relation to the State, the terms of the possession of money may want to simply follow the real state of the State and in the way it is onvolved in Labor and involved in Product and the relations of Life. Are there Capital relations of goods and locations of the State?

  5. I’m pleased to see that some of the readers can generate shock and outrage at this, for myself it is eminently unsurprising given the trajectory – which, as brynhild notes, is like “dystopian fiction” – that Higher Education in the UK has been set on by the current government. Philosophically, this is even rather satisfying, it at least one of the few consistent applications of policy/intent that the government has introduced. Not only must HE now fully intergrate itself with the capitalist machinery, demonstrating the impact of its brand on the market place, but it must now constribute to the PR, advertising and propaganda of its CEO.

  6. Would a social epistemology project on the effects of this insane policy satisfy the requirements for funding or is that too meta? Asked in all seriousness.

  7. The AHRC have indignantly denied the Observer’s accusations, claiming they thought it up all by themselves. Some philosopher-types have been throwing round words like ‘intellectually bankrupt’…

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