Copyright Sociological Research Online, 2002


Joyce Canaan (2002) 'Teaching Social Theory in Trying Times'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 4, <>

To cite articles published in Sociological Research Online, please reference the above information and include paragraph numbers if necessary

Received: 20/2/2002      Accepted: 25/2/2002      Published:


Articles written to date in Sociological Research Online as part of the rapid response to the events of 11 September and their aftermath have considered how sociology understands the contemporary world, as Larry Ray (2001) suggested. These articles have suggested that sociology can helpfully consider a number of issues that are emerging as a consequence of these events and that there is an urgency for sociologists to address these questions in the present context. This paper adds to the current debate by considering some implications of September 11th and its aftermath for the teaching of sociology. It does so by first exploring the current marketising context in which we teach and our students learn. It then considers my response to these events as a lecturer teaching Contemporary Social Theory and Globalisation in autumn 2001 and suggests that lecturers need to demonstrate to students now more than ever the usefulness of sociology to developing a fuller understanding of the contemporary world.

Benchmarking Sociology; Knowledge-Based Economic Restructuring; Marketising Higher Education; Teaching Social Theory

Introductory Remarks

As Larry Ray recently noted, the events of September 11th 2001 and their aftermath[1] potentially raise questions for sociology about 'the implications of these events for the development of the discipline's understanding of the contemporary world' (Ray 2001). They raise further questions about how effectively sociology can, or, indeed, even whether, sociology has the capacity to, address such events. Articles written to date as part of the 'rapid response' of Sociological Research Online to these events have begun to consider this issue by utilising analytical tools of sociology to examine different aspects or ramifications of these events (Fuller 2001, Innes 2001, Lyon 2001, Vertigans and Sutton (2001), Williams (2001)). These articles thereby effectively suggest that there are, as Lyon (2001) put it 'continuities and discontinuities' in the pre and post-September 11th world and thus that sociology has much to contribute to an understanding of the contemporary world. They further suggest that there is an urgency post- September 11th for sociologists to use our analytical tools because governments are responding to these events at least in part by intensifying surveillance (Ibid) and the state's social control apparatus (Innes 2001).

I would like to add to this debate by considering some of the implications of these events for the teaching of sociology. Fuller (2001) alluded to issues around the teaching of sociology in the aftermath of September 11th (2001. 1.19), when he noted that teachers of sociology are obliged to take seriously bin Laden's point 'that ordinary Western citizens remain largely ignorant of the plight of the Islamic world and its causes'. This suggests that teachers of sociology need to encourage students to explore this world and to try to understand how and why it operates as it does—a point addressed by Vertigans and Sutton (2001). In this paper I will add to Lyon's (2001) point that events such as September 11th and their aftermath offer us as sociologists the chance to use our analytical capacities to understand the present and to examine closely the social structures and processes that we might otherwise take for granted. I will do so by considering first the context in which lecturers teach sociology at present, a context which is being marketised as are other aspects of lecturers' work as academics. I will then look at how I responded to the events of September 11th and their aftermath in my teaching of Contemporary Social Theory and Globalisation. In doing so, I will suggest that the urgency of the current moment puts pressures on us that encourage us to work against the prevailing marketising of Higher Education (HE) that seems to be so dramatically disciplining both students and lecturers.

September 11th 2001 in Context

Before September 11th and, indeed, when I first heard, on the 11th, that planes had crashed into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, I was in the process of rethinking my Contemporary Social Theory and Globalisation module for autumn 2001. I wanted to rethink the module because I have been all too aware from teaching this required module before, that students came to it with a heavy heart and a somewhat dulled and intimidated mind. My students have often told me that they find social theory intimidating[2]. This is hardly surprising given that the undergraduates I teach are predominantly working class white and ethnic minority women. As sociological research suggests, sociologists hierarchise different areas of sociological enquiry (Ann Oakley 1985). Further, social theory has traditionally been produced by those from the most privileged (read white, middle class and male) backgrounds and thus reflects their vantage point[3]. Given that we—predominantly white and middle class sociologists—locate theory as the king of a realm that reflects the view of its most privileged members, it is hardly surprising that my predominantly white and ethnic minority working class female students consider theory their most daunting subject.

In part because I have recognised how my students feel about social theory, I have suggested to them, at the beginning of each module, that they could use social theory to understand and critique their lives and the world in which they live. In some of my lectures and seminar discussions, I demonstrated how they could use it. However, students' responses to my demonstrations were less than enthusiastic. I initially laid responsibility for this lack of enthusiasm on them; I thought that they did not try hard enough to work with the compelling material that I was providing. However, I now that because I only linked social theory to the world in some lectures and seminars, my suggestions of its relevance to their lives was less than consistent and thus my argument for its usefulness was less than persuasive.

I only began to recognise that the responsibility for demonstrating the relevance of social theory lay with me when I began to analyse data I collected from students about how they approached learning[4]. This process has helped me to consider the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which I wield power and thus am primarily responsible to my students to devise strategies to best encourage them to use theory to understand their lives and the world in which they live (Canaan 1997).

Yet whilst I am recognising my power as a lecturer, I realise that other factors contribute to my colleagues and my lesser investment in teaching and our students lesser investment in learning than previously. These factors often go under the heading of the 'marketising or commoditising of higher education' (see Canaan nd for a discussion)—a process that, for my students, was preceded by the marketising of secondary school[5]. But what do I mean by marketising and why do I presume that this process is impacting so profoundly on HE lecturers' teaching and students' learning processes? As a number of authors have noted, (see, for example, Ball 1990, Hatcher 2001, Levidow 2001, Nunn 2002), marketising presumes that the model of the marketplace offers the most appropriate model with which to constitute and understand educational processes and education as a public sector social institution. Nunn (2002) suggests that this marketising[6] of HE has four components:

the extension of market principles to public services, making the labour market more responsive to a flexible economy, advancing radical 'knowledge-based' economic restructuring and selling the UK HE product on a world market with an estimated £2trillion a year" (Nunn 2002:32).

Due to space limitations, I only discuss the first and third of these four components because these presently impact most profoundly on my teaching (and research).

Bringing Marketising Principles to the Academy

As Nunn and others (Berman 1999, Brown 2001) have noted, the rationale for marketising starts from the assumption that the state now faces an economic crisis. This crisis is said to be due to economic competition occurring between more nations of the world than ever before and simultaneously between transnational corporations operating at a new, supra-national level and holding more wealth than that of many nations (op cit , Whitfield 1999). As the national economy experienced greater pressure due to this greater national and supra-national competition, Northern governments have argued that they could best survive this pressure by reducing their spending on the public sector and encouraging private sector investment in the public sector (Ibid, Ainley 1999, Klausenitzer 2000)[7]. Consequently, marketising apologists have claimed that the state could no longer fully fund public sector institutions. They have used this argument to drastically cut government funds for HE[8] and to restructure HE so that it is more amenable to private sector funding and to the marketising processes on which this sector depends. This has led, in Britain and other Northern nations, to lecturers now teaching more students than ever before with proportionately fewer government funds than ever before (Noble 1997, Slaughter and Leslie 1997, Schugurensky 1999). It has also led to lecturers being encouraged to compete as individuals and institutions for the fewer and more discretionary government funds and to look to the private sector, especially to fund research (Ibid). It has further led to fewer full-time academic posts being available and those that are available often require their holders to generate income not just through research, but consulting and holding conferences (Nunn 2002, Slaughter and Leslie 1997)[9].

The British government's restructuring of HE includes the creation of new government appointed but supposedly quasi 'independent' agencies and exercises, such as the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). These agencies and exercises respectively monitor and hierarchise teaching and research quality, which leads to more funds going to those at the top of the teaching and research heaps (Tight 2000)[10]. Through these organisations, governments exercise control over universities (and over education as a social institution more generally) from a distance (Beck 1999:231). The government uses:

new modes of distantiation . . . [to] provide the basis of new rationales for government to claim credit for successes, while attributing failure to 'technical' problems, managerial inadequacy, and other 'non- political' factors outside their control . . . [T]hese new institutional forms embody technical/calculative rationality operating at all levels of the structure in a 'top down' manner (Ibid, see also Marginson 1997).

Building on Rose's (1993) appropriation of Foucauldian ideas about 'governmentality', Beck and Marginson (1997) suggest that there is a new logic or mentality operating in HE and other public sector institutions that stems from the government stipulating, from a distance, the assumptions with which such institutions should be operating. Thus even as governments cut back on their financial resourcing of HE and encourage HE institutions to look to the private sector for funds so that they can more efficiently compete in a neo-liberal marketplace, their control over education is growing in a top-down, neo-conservative manner. Further, the logic with which this control is enacted effectively disciplines managers, lecturers and students, encouraging us all to view HE with a 'technical/calculative rationality' that measures outputs 'in terms of performance indicators . . . [that] should be accounted for and evaluated' (Schugurensky 1999:295-96). Therefore, we are encouraged to account for ourselves in new and multiple ways, using the means/ends logic produced by these organisations. One effect of this logic is to conceptualise the process of education as a standardised and measureable product rather than as a social process (Levidow 2001, Shumar 1997,Tight 2000, Hartley 1995). Further, as Shumar (Ibid) and Bensimon (1995) note, attempts to realise this conceptualisation in part occur discursively, through the signifiers with which knowledge in and for society is constituted. Those committed to marketising seek to encourage educators and students 'to ultimately see all meaning in terms of what can be bought, sold or made profitable' (Shumar 1997:5). They seek to do so through reifying socially constituted and produced educational processes as measurable things (Ibid, Levidow 2001).

I am well aware of this attempt to reconfigure signifiers of knowledge processes as reified products in my own practice. For example, last year, as the Course Director of a Postgraduate Diploma/MA in Research Methodology, I had to produce, for the first time, 'Programme Specifications' for this course. To do so, I had to rely upon the newly created 'Subject Benchmark Statements' of sociology produced for the QAA by sociologists[11]. As the first paragraph of the QAA introductory document on Subject Benchmark Statements claims:

Subject benchmark statements provide a means for the academic community to describe the nature and characteristics of programmes in a specific subject. They also represent general expectations about the standards of the award of qualifications at a given level and articulate the attributes and capabilities that those possessing such qualifications should be able to demonstrate (Quality Assurance Agency 2000).

On the one hand, such statements ostensibly encourage us to specify what we teach, the levels and components at which we teach and what we expect our graduates to have accomplished. This helps us clarify what we seek to accomplish from teaching/learning processes, which is not, in itself, a bad thing. On the other hand, we are required to do so by relying upon a document that stipulates the 'nature and extent of the subject', 'subject knowledge and understanding', 'learning, teaching and assessment' and 'subject skills and other [transferable—that is, work-related] skills' (http://www.qaa. The sociology benchmarking document specifies 19 sociology benchmarks. Thus this document asks us to make sociology, which the producers of the sociology Subject Benchmark Statement view as, 'a reflexive discipline that aims to develop a critical awareness of the social world' (Ibid:3), into a measurable commodity that can be scrutinised by government agencies, employers and students for its capacity to produce 'employable' graduates. As Bensimon notes, benchmarking, which comes to the academy from industry, aims to produce: reliable high-quality undergraduates who satisfy the needs of customers—that is, undergraduates who meet specific standards of quality, as determined by employers (Bensimon 1995:695). Benchmarking is an attempt to re-orient education away from its prior aim of nation-building towards a new aim of ensuring that education prepares graduates for 'employability'[12] (Avis 2000, Hatcher 2001, Lyotard 1984, Readings 1996).

Benchmarking and other exercises are resulting in the production of new documents that contribute to lecturers' work-intensification, and that encourage lecturers to view their discipline from and for the vantage point of business and industry. Concomitantly, as a number of researchers note, the marketising of HE discourages critical teaching and research and thus limits voices critical of this re-orientation and/or at the margins of society (Ibid, Bensimon 1995, Levidow 2001, Nunn 2002, Shumar 1997). This can be seen in a recent World Bank report seeking further restructuring of HE that encourages its marketising and privatising worldwide. The authors of this report argue that such restructuring:

means either fewer and/or different faculty, professional staff, and support workers. This means lay-offs, forced early retirements, or major retraining and reassignment . . . which means radically altering who the faculty are, how they behave, the way they are organized, and the way they work and are compensated (Johnstone et al, in Levidow 2001:15).

As Levidow notes, restructuring is 'a political weapon for recasting academic freedom as a commitment to neoliberal futures' (Ibid:15-16). No wonder, then, that I feel deadened by the new version of governmentality organising the academy. No wonder, then, that I have less time and enthusiasm for teaching, an activity to which I have been deeply committed.

The Impact of Knowledge-Based Economic Restructuring on the Academy

Second, governments and business leaders now argue that in a knowledge-based economy, information and communications technologies (ICTs) have replaced industrialism as the engine of economic production (Nunn 2002, Levidow 2001). They further claim that in such an economy, education plays an increasingly central role not just in enhancing individual's opportunities for self-advancement, but, concomitantly, for enhancing the advancement of the nation more generally. As the Department for Education and Employment recently noted:

The Challenge we face to equip individuals, employers and the country to meet the demands of the 21st century is immense and immediate. In the information and knowledge based economy, investment in human capital—in the intellect and creativity of people—is replacing past patterns of investment in plant, machinery and physical labour. To continue to compete, we must equip ourselves with new and better skills. We must improve levels of knowledge and understanding and develop the adaptability to respond to change (in Avis 2000:31).

As Avis (Ibid) and others (Brown 2000, Hatcher 2001, Nunn 2002, Schugurensky 1999) suggest, technological change is being used to urge individuals to keep developing their 'human capital' and 'social capital' from their earliest years through their entire working lives. That is, they are encouraged respectively to continue developing the intellectual and cognitive skills necessary for economically productivity and the social skills required for the collaborative working relationships of this new knowledge base (Avis 2000, Levidow 2001). Further, it is argued that if a nation's workforce develops its human and social capital skills, then the nation has a better chance of 'win[ning] a competitive advantage in the global 'knowledge wars'' (Brown 2000:641). As education is increasingly considered the site where such skills can best be developed, the state is restructuring it so that it encourages the development of human and social capital skills necessary for an ICT-based work world. Thus this second factor of education being centrally important to individual and national competition in an ICT-based economy bolsters the first factor of education being marketised. The marketising of education seems 'natural' and reasonable in a world where education is thought to provide the basis for individual and national economic development. Further, such a view of the world seems to confirm that business and industry should play a bigger role in funding education and in determining what is taught and how it is taught and what is researched, and how it is researched (Hatcher 2001, Levidow 2001, Nunn 2002, Shumar 1997). Increasingly we in HE are urged to consider how to best help our students develop the cognitive and other, 'transferable skills' necessary for the workplace. This can be seen in point four of the Subject Benchmark Statement for sociology that considers the 'subject skills and other skills' that sociology students should develop. These skills include:

general cognitive abilities and skills; discipline-specific abilities and skills, defined as core capacities within the discipline of Sociology itself; transferable skills that may be gained by studying Sociology (http://www.

The latter skills, which include 'written and oral communication skills in a variety of contexts and modes', 'communication and information technology skills' and 'skills of time planning and management' are clearly skills that could be transferable to the work world that students will hopefully enter after graduating. Just as the marketising of HE is disciplining students and lecturers to think of education as a standardised and measurable product rather than as a social process, so is the claim that knowledge provides the basis for individual and national economic development re-forming our ideas about knowledge. Both factors are together promoting the view that knowledge should primarily serve instrumental rather than intrinsic needs and should enable economic profitability (Bernstein 2000, Lyotard 1984). As Lyotard presciently observed nearly 20 years ago:

The question (overt or implied) now asked by the professionalist student, the State, or institutions of higher education is no longer "Is it true?" but "What use is it?" In the context of the mercantilization of knowledge, more often than not this question is equivalent to: is it saleable?" (Ibid:51).

The capacity for a discipline such as sociology to remain reflexively critical, as the sociology Subject Benchmark Statement claims, is clearly more difficult when knowledge is being reconfigured so instrumentally.

Whilst one ramification of the reconfiguration of knowledge in an ICT-based economy is to instrumentalise knowledge, another ramification is for major TNCs either on their own or in collaboration with universities to create 'edubusinesses' that produce educational software packages (Hatcher 2001, Noble 1997). Producing educational software is highly profitable; according to Nunn (Ibid:36), 'the provision of education appears as a lucrative economic sector estimated by Merrill Lynch at over US$2trillion a year'. Britain is currently the second biggest exporter of such educational services and seeks to continue to develop this market (Ibid).

As Noble (1997) notes, commoditizing the instructional process is contributing in part to the casualising, downsizing and work-intensification of academics. Further, there have been struggles in North American universities between universities and their lecturers over the intellectual property rights of modules (Ibid). In addition, as modules are placed on line, they are more easily available for management scrutiny—which could potentially discipline academics still further (Ibid). The digitisation of knowledge is also increasing university overhead costs as they now must provide for computer 'equipment, upgrades, maintenance, and technical and administrative support staff' (Ibid:4). Universities thus face more financial pressures at a time when they receive fewer funds from government.

Teaching Social Theory in the Context of September 11th 2001 and Its Aftermath

This, then, is the context in which I now teach and research. I teach in this context with an awareness that I have less time in which to prepare my lectures and that my students often come to classes with lack of interest and disaffection. I also fear that my teaching will be more constrained and scrutinised in the future. If there are benchmarks for sociology today, how long may it be before there is a national curriculum for sociology at university level? How likely would it be that such a curriculum would continue to encourage students to reflexively develop a critical view of the world? I believe that for these reasons alone there is a greater urgency than ever for me to help my students develop such a critical awareness—and that this urgency has grown in the aftermath of September 11th.

I also research in this context. And I research this context, in part to understand my own feelings of malaise and alienation and those that I see in my colleagues and students. I research this context so that I can help ensure that sociology maintains the critical tools that the sociology Subject Benchmark Statement group so carefully introduced. I research this context so that I can help build an alternative to the marketising of the academy and to the subtle and not so subtle attacks on academic freedom that are now occurring. However, at times I find it hard to see the wood for the trees as I work longer and under more insecure, constrained and scrutinised circumstances. I know that I now teach, research and write both to save my soul and to save my job, a duality with which I feel considerable discomfort.

This was the situation I was in when the planes crashed into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon last September. Like so many of us I was outraged by 'the sheer scale of the destruction and the potent symbolism of the targets' (George, 2002). Like Edward Said, I believe that 'No cause, no God, no abstract idea can justify the mass slaughter of innocents' (Said 2001). Yet my initial reaction to the crashes was to be mesmerised by the images, especially of the World Trade Centre crumbling. I was disturbed by my own seeming callousness and took heart from the writings of Mark Lawson and David Thomson shortly thereafter. The former noted that World Trade Centre 'symbolised political and financial power' in a city that, perhaps more than any other, has 'desired to be pictured' (Lawson 2001:10). Lawson further noted that for the first 24 hours after these crashes, all that we initially had were pictures without an explanation for them, which the media kept reproducing, encouraging the kind of mesmerising that I was experiencing. In addition, he pointed out that the US represented 'through its movie industry and multi-channel television, the most visual culture there has ever been'. So an image of the destruction of a key symbol of this most visual culture, whose financial district was in itself a visual image 'designed to awe' (p. 10) initially awed me and undoubtedly many others. Thomson added that the September 11th attack on the US was familiar to us all because we had already seen it—'as entertainment' (p. 30). As Thomson pointed out, the tradition of targeting key US icons is part of a genre that goes back at least as far as King Kong. No wonder, then, that terrorists who sought to wreak havoc on the US seized on images of the US that the US cinema industry had already shown all over the world.

All of this made me think of Baudrillard, one of the social theorists on my syllabus for the semester. Although I despaired when Baudrillard said, on the day that the Gulf War began, that the ensuing deaths would be irrelevant as we had so blurred images and reality in our hyperreal age, as I read articles like those of Lawson and Thomson, I realised that Baudrillard was making an important point. I knew then that I wanted to tell my students, in my lecture on Baudrillard, that many of us had become so inured by the plethora of images in the present era that at one level we had come to see the world in part through images that pre-existed real events. And so in this lecture I noted that Baudrillard said that in the past:

one started with the real, the signified, and then constructed an image of it, the signifier. What happens now . . . is that we no longer start our conceptualisations from reality. Rather, 'The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth it is the map that precedes the territory . . . it is the map that engenders the territory' (Baudrillard in Elliott 1999:327) (Canaan 2001a, p. 7).

I then discussed the Mark Lawson piece mentioned above which, as I told my students, made the point that:

the image of the destruction of the New York skyline has been preceded by prior images of New York City. Consequently, at some level these images are evacuated of real meaning. They refer firstly to other images—from films like Independence Day, Fight Club, Godzilla. In the first, Manhattan is flattened by aliens; in the second, key skyscrapers in an unnamed city are exploded by a fascist/anarchist group; in the third, a monster whose enormous size seems to have been created by nuclear testing, runs amok over the skyscrapers of New York City. What we see in all these films is that the skyline of New York City or of a major US city, symbolises the might of the US. And, indeed, whoever did the bombing of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon was, to some extent, acting symbolically, hitting . . . key symbols of US economic and military might (Ibid).

Thus I viewed this terrible event in part through social theory and shared with my students how social theory helped me understand the world. By doing so, I hoped to show my students how powerful social theory was for me and thus could be for them. Thus, even though I now approach teaching in part through a veil of malaise and disaffection, one of my first thoughts in the aftermath of September 11th was that I wanted to communicate to my students the power that I believe social theory has.

My initially mesmerised reaction to the horrors of September 11th did pass shortly, and I began to recognise these horrors in which thousands of innocent civilians going about their daily lives were murdered. I also recognised, as Thomson (2001:30) did, that it was important to acknowledge and reflect upon 'the terrorists' reality' in which, as Michael Albert and Stephen R. Shalom noted, there was:

a long list of grievances felt by people in the Middle East—U.S. backing for Israeli repression and the dispossession of the Palestinians, U.S. imposition of sanctions on Iraq, leading to the deaths of huge numbers of innocents, and U.S. support for autocratic, undemocratic, highly inegalitarian regimes (http://www.zma

Indeed, as John Pilger noted, several days prior to the 11th of September eight people were killed in unreported civilian attacks in Iraq. Further, approximately 200,000 Iraqis 'died during and in the immediate aftermath' of the Gulf War and 'at least a million civilians, half of them children, have since died in Iraq' ( ). In addition, in the aftermath of September 11th we have experienced the collapse of Enron, the largest multinational corporation ever to collapse, as well as the Argentinian financial crisis, caused by International Monetary Fund structural adjustment programmes (World Social Forum 2002). Still further tensions might erupt as a consequence of September 11th—the potential for war between India and Pakistan, which escalated post September 11th has escalated still further since the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, the potential for Iraq to be subject to the kind of attack that Afghanistan experienced is now heightened (Arnove 2002) and US Special Forces were recently deployed to the Philipines (Ibid, Brennan 2002, see also Hazen 2001, Monbiot 2001, Said 2001).

For all of these reasons, I felt a greater urgency last September to rework my Contemporary Social Theory and Globalisation module than ever before. But the sense of urgency that I felt was not completely new. Like Mark Levene (nd), I believe that the terrorist action of September 11th did mark a change in the world at the same time as it 'accelerated an already existing crisis'—one that is not just social, political, economic and cultural but, as Levene as forcefully argued, environmental as well. Nonetheless, like Levene I believe that there is 'a potential silver lining' in this most ominous of clouds:

11.09.2001 has demanded of us a different kind of recognition of the interconnectedness of all things in our global community than the rather unreflective "free trade and globalisation are good things" mantras with which we are regularly invited to concur (Ibid)[13].

This event heightens, for many of us, a long-held concern about 'the concentration of wealth, the proliferation of poverty and inequalities and the destruction of our earth' (World Social Forum 2002:30). Post September 11th, my sense of urgency grew. I felt obliged to dedicate more time to teaching social theory than I had done previously so that I could show my students, the next generation who will contribute to world development in the future, that sociological insights are imperative to the survival of the planet and its people.

And so, on the first day of the module, I said to my students:

I have needed to revise the lecture I had prepared [for today] as a consequence of the tragic and terrifying bombings that happened in New York City and Washington DC on the 11th of September 2001, only two weeks ago. The world has greatly altered since then . . . But why do I say this as an introduction to a module on contemporary social theory? Because I believe that a module like this gives us tools for being able to ask questions about the world that we live in, and to begin to develop answers to these questions. If contemporary social theory offers us anything, it should offer us the tools to understand what feels like a really crazy and uncertain world . . . And so I offer this module to you as that which should, if you put the work in, give you insights that can help you to make sense of the world. And I would hope that you take up these insights, because you will need them. Contemporary social theory is not irrelevant and it isn't even simply an obligatory module. It is, I want to argue, necessary and urgently important today (Canaan 2002b, p. 1).

The reaction I had to this lecture was unlike I had ever had, and, indeed, have had since. Whilst I was speaking there was virtually complete silence amongst the students. I now believe that my students were not just listening to me because I was their lecturer (who they probably would have listened to anyway, albeit somewhat begrudgingly). I believe that they were listening because I was tapping into uncertainties that they had from outside sociology and I was offering them a means of understanding these uncertainties from within sociology. I suspect that the students came into the lecture that day expecting me to tell them what academic topics we were covering and how we were covering them, which is what I would normally have done. Whilst I did tell them this, unlike my first lectures in any module before or since, in this lecture I began to tie social theory to the contemporary world and thus to enact the linkage of theory to the world that I had heretofore only spoken of when teaching this module.

Afterwards I felt energised by students' response to this lecture, and sought to produce the remaining lectures in the same manner. In trying to prove to students that social theory was not just useful, but urgently required, in the current context, I began to believe that it was possible to devise strategies to subvert the marketising trend now re-forming HE. More than this, I began to feel that dedicating such energy to teaching was not a luxury but a necessity. I had become a lecturer not just to be a researcher, but to help students think about the world. If this world was now becoming almost unimaginably de-stabilised and uncertain, then I felt obliged to offer students tools with which they, as the next generation, could approach the world.

Of course I recognise that being able to devise such strategies takes time and that unlike some of my colleagues, I am allocated time in my timetable for research—which, last autumn, I gave largely to teaching. Ironically—or perhaps not, in the current marketising context—I am now re-appropriating this time for research purposes by writing this paper. I also recognised that my students came to their third and final year of a sociology degree with at least a partially jaded and dulled view of education, having gone through secondary school when it was being marketised. I also realised that my students came into HE when it had higher staff student ratios than ever before which meant that staff had less time and energy to support them than before—which probably added to their prior sense of disaffection with regard to learning. I did not expect that in one module in one semester I could radically transform their ideas about sociology in particular or learning in general. I hoped to disrupt some of their prior ideas about Sociology and about learning, even if only temporarily. I thought that even if they only partly took on board what I was offering, I would have been successful.

But for my students to take on board what I was offering, I had to make sure that our seminar discussions allowed them to ask questions about the linkages between the world and social theory in ways that were respectful of other students. As my colleagues pointed out at a meeting prior to the beginning of the semester, given that racism was rising in the aftermath of September 11th, I had to make sure that racist comments or comments that indicated religious or other hatreds would not be made, or if they were made, that they could be combated. To do so, during our first seminar meetings I had students devise rules to govern seminar conduct. This signaled that we were going to explore dangerous issues and that in doing so it was important that we all respected the differences between us. And so in our first seminar meetings, we came up with seminar rules[14]. Interestingly, in the second of three seminar groups held on that day, we had a discussion with regard to the situation in Afghanistan. I used the term 'Muslim fundamentalist'. One of my Muslim women students told me, calmly, that she found the term offensive because the Muslim religion was built on five fundamental pillars and thus that to talk of 'Muslim fundamentalists' was to denigrate all Muslims who followed the fundamental principles of their religion. We then had a discussion of the term that we should use and the students came up with the term 'Muslim extremists'. Whilst I was not happy with this term because, as I said to my students, one person's extremist could be found reasonable by another person, we kept this term because it was the one that they preferred. I told the next seminar group what had happened as an example of how it was possible to respond in a measured way to someone's offensiveness—in this case, mine. As far as I can tell, these rules were relatively well followed. There were times when I felt that students veered towards the offensive and I intervened to limit any possible repercussions that might have come from such remarks. Most of the time, however, we worked with these rules.

I believe that our seminar discussions were relatively lively and engaged for the rest of the semester not just because of the linkage between theory and the world but also because I structured seminars differently than previously. Rather than follow the usual seminar pattern of breaking students into small groups which answered questions and then came back together for a large group discussion, I had students structure the seminars around the issues that had come up for them from the readings, the lecture and the world outside. I did so because in the week between the first and second seminar discussions, I read an article on the Zapatistas ideas about creating a more democratic educational space. This article spoke of the Zapatista way of working for political and social change through the 'encuentro' or encounter. Rather than working within bureaucratic and hierarchically structured organisations, they sought to create a democratic space in which they could freely and respectfully build ''[on]e world where many worlds fit', where 'what we have in common [is] that we are different'' (in Ainley 2001:44). In this space, as Ainley (Ibid:44-45) noted:

it is the duty and prime purpose of education in a democracy to challenge and test existing orthodoxies and for students at all levels to negotiate meaning to reach their own understandings.

Thus the space of the encuentro was organised from the bottom up, where students actively developed their own understandings. In such a space, 'dialogues' rather than 'monologues' (Ibid:45) were generated. In such a space, where differences were respected and dialogue between differences provided the basis for such respect, it would be possible for students to learn in ways they had not previously. As Ainley commented:

[W]ith sufficient motivation almost anyone can learn almost anything. However, illusory promises of vocational relevance for increasingly commodified academic certification cannot motivate those who are 'excluded' by lack of cultural or financial capital from buying their way into the better schools, colleges and universities. 'The socially excluded' thus become increasingly 'disaffected', as the government calls it (Ibid).

Of course the university seminar space can hardly approach the Zapatista notion of the 'encuentro'. This is partly because my students and I are being disciplined by the 'illusory promises of vocational relevance' that are deadening our motivation and partly because Northern education systems are organised hierarchically. Nonetheless, some changes within it are possible—and, I believe necessary. I have found the now traditional pattern of small and then large group seminar work constraining and formulaic. Whilst I suspect that this pattern was developed in response to large group seminar work where the lecturer structured the discussion and many students felt too intimidated to speak, I now find it claustrophobic. I thus suggested to students in the third week of the semester that I would not be coming to seminars with questions for them to answer in small groups. Rather, they had to come to the seminar with questions—from the readings, the lectures and the world outside (with regard to the latter, this meant that questions should consider the linkage between theorists and current events). Needless to say, this space did not become an 'encuentro'. But it did seem to generate more energy and engagement by students than in prior years. Also, attendance was higher than it had been for several years.

For the rest of the semester I mostly kept my part of the bargain[15]. My lectures sought to show the linkage between September 11th and its aftermath and contemporary social theory. Thus, for example, I used the lecture on structuralism to critique Bush's oft-quoted statement shortly after September 11th that 'you are either with us or against us'. I suggested that this statement divided the world into a binary opposition in which all are located in one camp, 'ours', or the other, 'theirs'. This effectively lumped into the latter group anyone who might have any objection to any aspect of the war—and thus equated those who opposed the war to those terrorists who instigated its initiation. I then noted that 'Words do not neutrally refer to things in the world but to a system of value laden meanings' (Canaan 2001c, pp. 4-5), which I hoped was an insight that my students could use to develop their critical awareness of the social world. As I suggested earlier with regard to Baudrillard, I showed how our understandings of reality were shaped by images.

I evaluated the module in its last week. I gave students a form to fill out, and afterwards we discussed the module. I framed the discussion by saying that I wanted to know how the module had gone because I wanted to re-work the module for the following year. I knew that I could not use the same format again as the war in Afghanistan would not be a new issue that students might be encouraged to link to social theory. I told students that I was thinking of linking different theorists' ideas to different contemporary issues, based on what had happened in some of our seminars. For example, whilst the lecture on Critical Theory had looked at the chapter in Horkheimer and Adorno's (1982) Dialectic of Enlightenment on anti-Semitism, the seminar discussions focused less on racist attacks post-September 11th and more on representations of asylum seekers. This made me think that the following year this lecture and seminar could link Horkheimer and Adorno's analysis of anti-Semitism to issues around asylum seekers. Students agreed that this might be more relevant in the future.

I also told the students that before they told me how they thought the module went, I would tell them how I thought it went. I reported that whilst they seemed incredibly engaged the first few weeks, their level of engagement seemed to diminish after that. Whilst it never regained its initial spark, their level of engagement did seem relatively high. Students concurred with this depiction, saying that in late September they were uncertain what to think about the planes crashing into US buildings and about the response of the US and its alliance. After war was declared, they heard so much about it outside the classroom that it was the last thing they wanted to hear about inside the classroom[16].

Most students also said that they enjoyed having seminars organised around what they brought to discussions. Indeed, of the 44 students who completed the module evaluation form, only 13 did not like the seminars structured in this way—primarily because they found large group discussions intimidating[17]. The others suggested that this format allowed them to more actively engage in learning and to ask questions that were important to them[18]. But the most interesting, and to me the most rewarding, responses came to the question 'Did you do any more or less work as a consequence of the module being organised around the events of 11 September and thereafter?'. Whilst 18 students reported that this module organisation had not made a difference to the amount of work that they did, 23 reported that it did make a difference. There was a split between those who said that they had read the news more and those who said that they read theory more. Several students suggested that they were bringing theoretical insights to their understandings of the world and were using their insights about the contemporary world to understand the theories that they were reading[19]. I derive most pleasure from these latter remarks. They suggest to me that I was at least partially accomplishing what I had intended. At least some students were linking theory and the world for themselves.


This paper thus suggests, firstly, that those of us who teach social theory in particular, and sociology more generally, do so in times that are so trying in part because HE is being marketised. This marketising of HE seeks to re-form lecturers and students in ways that encourage a more instrumental approach to our teaching and their learning. As I have argued, this is the context in which many of us are responding to the events of September 11th and their aftermath as lecturers. But post-September 11th, the pre-existent tensions in the world are being intensified which makes the trying times in which we live and work even more trying. I believe that those of us committed to maintaining sociology's capacity to critique the social world reflexively, and to teaching our students to continue this tradition, must devise, in these doubly trying times, new strategies that can renew us as teachers and our students as learners. In doing so, we can take heart, at least for the time being, by the Subject Benchmark Statement for sociology. Our colleagues have crafted this carefully, allowing us to maintain what many of us find most compelling about sociology—its capacity to enable critique of the social world. But we cannot be complacent and must watch for shifts in such statements and must work, in the spaces over which we have some control, to ensure that this feature remains central. It is important to sociology and to sociology's contributions to an understanding and, hopefully, transformation of the world. This is needed now more than ever.


1Like Lyon (2001) I believe that sociological analysis must be applied to the aftermath of September 11th as well as to the events of that day itself. As a statement produced by participants in the recent World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, noted, the aftermath of this terrorist attack is resulting in "the beginning of a permanent global war to cement the domination of the US government and its allies" (World Social Forum 2002:30).

2Indeed, I felt intimidated by theory when I first encountered it as a postgraduate. I saw postgraduate work as operating in the realm of the mind and theory as its presiding king. As I now realise, I tarred theory with the dual brush of being male and upper middle class because, as a white middle middle class woman in the late 1970s, I did not see that theory could also be racist.

3As Guillaumin (1995) noted, theory has long been the domain of the most privileged and has reflected their vantage point. This is backed up by Redman and Mac an Ghaill's (1997:171) auto/biographical study which considered how 'muscular intellectualness' offered at least some middle class young men approaching Higher Education a compelling version of masculinity. Frankenberg points to the historical association of the mind and its activities with white males:

The hierarchization of mind, emotion and body derived from Platonic thought has marked the racialized rankings of peoples and cultures from colonial times down to the present and has also been closely associated with a hierarchical division of masculine and feminine (Frankenberg 2001:79).

4I conducted intensive in-depth interviews with eight students in the spring of 1995, I interviewed two white working class young women together four times and one of them alone twice more thereafter. I also interviewed two mature white working class women once and one of them alone a second time, a white lower middle class Irish young woman twice, a mature working class African Caribbean male student three times, a mature lower middle class African Caribbean woman three times, and an Asian lower middle class young woman three times. In the 1998-99 academic year I interviewed a mature working class Asian male student thirteen times, conducting what I now call an 'educational life history'. In the 1999-2000 academic year, I conducted thirteen 'educational life history' interviews with a mature white working class woman and two interviews with an Asian working class young woman. I started doing this research because I was beginning to feel that my students were getting less engaged in learning. I wanted to be able to encourage them to think critically about the world and recognised that if I did not understand why they were less engaged, I could not do so.

5These students did not experience marketising processes in primary school because these processes were only realised after the 1988 Education Reform Act was implemented. As Gillborn and Youdell (2000) have shown, such marketising has been impacting on students most fully since around 1995, when my current students were in secondary school.

6Nunn (2002) uses the term 'commercialisation'. As I argue elsewhere (Canaan nd), there are a now wealth of terms being used to describe the same process.

7Southern governments that faced high levels of debt from the late 1970s were forced to go to organisations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to receive "'Growth-oriented loans' . . . [to] reduce budget deficits, control inflation, and thus create conditions for resumed growth" (Levidow 2001:16). This has led to the neo-liberal restructuring of HE, especially in African nations.

8According to Shattock, in Slaughter and Leslie (1997:41):

Within three days of Mrs. Thatcher's taking office in 1979, 100 million pounds were cut overnight from the universities' budgets, and between 1980 and 1984, 17 percent was removed from the grants made by government to the UGC (University Grants Committee), which at that point provided about 90 percent of the operating costs of British universities . . . And, from 1985 onwards, the universities have lost a further 2 percent per annum from their budgets.
Nunn (2002:43) reports that 'Publicly planned funding per student has fallen by 37 per cent in real terms between 1989-90 and 1999-00'. Whilst these figures clearly indicate the serious reduction of government funds for British HE, they are matched by comparable figures for at least other Northern nations (Berman 1999, Schugurensky 1999, Slaughter and Leslie 1997).

9Whilst marketising apologists suggest that there is no alternative to such reduced and restructuring of public sector institutions like HE, critical researchers assert that such arguments can be contested by considering how they are discursively produced (Fairclough 2000, Gibson-Graham 1996) and/or that such arguments ignore evidence that demonstrates that marketising principles do not offer the best response to growing competition (Levidow 2001).

10This process has become painfully clear to us as the 2001 RAE Exercise, in which nearly 50% of British HE institutions were deemed to be of 'world class' status, has resulted in more funding for institutions in the top two research tiers and less funding for all others (The Lecturer 2002).

11I have no doubt that the sociologists who produced the Subject Benchmark Statements for Sociology aimed to minimise the damage that such an exercise could produce. They did the best job that could be done—but within terms set by the QAA.

12As Hatcher notes, attempts at such a re-orientation are occurring throughout the education system. Further, such attempts are organised by corporate leaders in regions across the world. These include groups like: the European Round Table (ERT), a pressure group of 44 European industrial leaders from 16 countries . . . [that maintain that schools should] 'place greater emphasis on entrepreneurship in schools . . . All too often the education process itself is entrusted to people who appear to have no dialogue with, nor understanding of, industry and the path of progress' (in Hatcher 2001:48, emphasis in original). The World Bank has been implementing structural adjustment programmes for Southern nations' educational systems that are resulting in the "businessification" of education (Klausenitzer 2000:37).

13In making this argument I am aware that I am taking the side of Chomsky and thus am contributing to what Fuller (2001) considers to be a 'theodicy' that seeks to give a seemingly quasi-divine meaning to the current situation. I would reply by claiming that my stance and that of others—sociologists and non-sociologists—also committed to an anti-war position is certainly part of a grand narrative but I do not consider grand narratives to be theodicies as they can be grounded in Enlightenment humanist principles.

14These rules were as follows:

  1. Let a speaker have their say; don't cut them off mid stream.
  2. Be respectful of others' opinions, whether you agree with them or not.
  3. Be open-minded; try to think about why another person might have a different view to yours.
  4. If someone says something that you find offensive, say so—in a measured way.
  5. Be sensitive to the line between being passionate and articulate and being aggressive.
  6. Avoid racist, sexist, homophobic or disablist language.

15I had difficulty linking some theorists ideas, like those of Lyotard, to the war. In that case I discussed his ideas about the changing nature of the university in a world where production was increasingly based on ICTs rather than industrialism. Thus I stuck to my commitment to link social theory to the contemporary world.

16The fact that students experienced an information overload about the war confirms my idea that in the future I should link theory to a variety of national and world events to best ensure student engagement.

17This suggests that in future I should devise strategies for some alternative forms of small group work so that this group can participate more fully.

18For example, I received answers to the question 'Did having more informal seminars where you took more responsibility impact on your perceptions of seminars?' such as, 'I enjoyed being an active member and sharing my ideas for discussion.'; 'Very much so. It allowed us to feel that it was better to ask questions than not. I never really felt happy talking in class until this module!'.

19These students made the following points: As I read [news]papers, I was thinking about ideas from the module and the events gave me a framework from which to look at the module and increased my interest. More reading around the events of September 11th so that I could apply the discussed theories. More work—needed to comprehend ideas from September 11th before understanding and appreciating theories.


Thanks to Dave Rogers and Mark Levene for helping me clarify my argument.


AINLEY, Patrick (1999) "Left in a Right State: Towards a New Alternative", Education and Social Justice, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 2-12.

AINLEY, Patrick (2001) 'Lessons from the Mountains of South East Mexico: Some Implications for Education in the Writings of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos', Education and Social Justice, Vol 3, No. 3, pp. 43-45.

ALBERT, Michael and Stephen R. Shalom (2001) 'ZNet's September 11 Talking Points', ZNet, <>.

ARNOVE, Anthony (2002) 'Iraq in the Crossfires', ZMag, < 002-02/25arnove.cfm> .

AVIS, James (2000) 'The Forces of Conservatism', Education and Social Justice, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 31-36.

BALL, Stephen (1990) 'Markets, Morality and Equality in Education', Hillcole Paper No. 5, London: The Tuffnell Press.

BECK, John (1999) 'Makeover or Takeover?: The Strange Death of Educational Autonomy in Neo-Liberal England'. British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1999, pp. 223-38.

BENSIMON, Estella Maria (1995) 'Total Quality Management in the Academy: A Rebellious Reading', Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 65, No. 4, pp. 593-611.

BERMAN, Edward (1999) 'The Political Economy of Educational Reform in Australia, England and Wales, and the United States', Arnove, Robert F. and Carlos Alberto Torres, (editors) Comparative Education: The Dialectic of the Global and the Local Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, pp. 257- 82.

BERNSTEIN, Basil (2000) Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity: Theory, Research, Critique, Lanham, Boulder, New York, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

BRENNAN, Brid (2002) 'Another Afghanistan?', Red Pepper, March 2002, pp. 26-27.

BROWN, Phillip (2001) 'The Globalisation of Positional Competition?' Sociology, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 633-53.

CANAAN, Joyce E (1997) 'Examining the Examination: Tracing the Effects of Pedagogic Authority on Cultural Studies Lecturers and Students', Joyce E Canaan and Debbie Epstein, (editors), A Question of Discipline: Pedagogy and Power in the Teaching of Cultural Studies Boulder CO and Oxford UK: Westview.

CANAAN, Joyce E (nd) 'Marketising Subjects?: The New Labour Contribution to Recent Changes in Higher Education', Richard Johnson and Deborah Lynn Steinberg, (editors) Labour's Passive Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Blairism, London: Lawrence and Wishart.

CANAAN, Joyce E. (2001a) 'Postmodernism II: Lyotard and Baudrillard: Two Key Post- modern Theorists', Lecture 7, 7 November 2001.

CANAAN, Joyce E. (2001b) 'Continuities and Discontinuities between Classical and Contemporary Social Theory' Lecture 1, 26 September 2001.

CANAAN, Joyce E. (2001c) 'Structuralism and Structural Marxism: Saussure and Althusser as Anti-Humanist Theorists', Lecture 5, 24 October 2001.

DELANTY, Gerard (2001) Challenging Knowledge: The University in the Knowledge Society Buckingham UK and Philadelphia PA: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.

ELLIOTT, Anthony (editor) (1999) The Blackwell Reader in Contemporary Social Theory, Malden and Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

FAIRCLOUGH, Norman (2000) New Labour, New Language?, London and New York: Routledge.

FRANKENBERG, Ruth (2001) 'The Mirage of Unmarked Whiteness', Birgit Brander Rasmussen et al, (editors) The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness Durham and London: Duke University Press, pp. 72-96.

FULLER, Steve (2001) 'Looking for Sociology after 11 September', Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 3, <http://w> GEORGE, SUSAN (2002) 'Another World Is Possible', The Nation < eorge>.

GIBSON-GRAHAM, J. K. (1996) THE END OF CAPITALISM (as we knew it): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy, Cambridge MA and Oxford UK: Blackwell.

GILLBORN, David and Deborah YOUDELL (2000) Rationing Education: Policy, Practice, Reform and Equity, Buckingham UK and Philadelphia PA: Open University Press.

GUILLAUMIN, Colette (1995) Racism, Sexism, Power and Ideology London: Routledge.

HARTLEY, David (1995) 'The 'MacDonaldization' of Higher Education: Food for Thought?' Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 409- 23.

HATCHER, Richard (2001) "Getting Down to Business: Schooling in the Globalised Economy', Education and Social Justice, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 45-59.

HAZEN, Don (2001) "10 Reasons to Stop Bombing Afghanistan", <http:/ />.

HORKHEIMER, Max and Theodor W. ADORNO (1982) Dialectic of Enlightenment New York: Continuum.

INNES, Martin (2001) 'Control Creep', Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 3, <http://w>.

KLAUSENITZER, Juergen (2000) 'The World Bank and Education', Education and Social Justice, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 37-38, 59.

LAWSON, Mark '(2001) The Power of a Picture', The Guardian, G2, p. 10.

LEVENE, Mark (2002) 'A Dissenting Voice: Or How Current Assumptions of Deterring and Preventing Genocide May Be Looking at the Problem through the Wrong End of the Telescope', submitted to Journal of Genocide Research, January 2002.

LEVIDOW, Les (2001) 'Marketizing Higher Education: Neo-Liberal Strategies and Counter-Strategies', Education and Social Justice Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 12-23.

LYON, David (2001) 'Surveillance after September 11', Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 3, <http://ww>

LYOTARD, Jean-Francois (1984) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge Manchester: Manchester University Press.

MARGINSON, Simon (1997) 'After Globalization: Emerging Politics of Education', Journal of Education Policy Vol. 14, No.2, pp. 19-31.

MONBIOT, George (2001)'The Need for Dissent', <>.

NOBLE, David F (1997) 'Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education' < .html > .

NUNN, Alex (2002) 'GATS, Higher Education and 'Knowledge Based Restructuring' in the UK', Education and Social Justice, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 32- 43.

OAKLEY, Ann (1985) The Sociology of Housework, Oxford UK and Cambridge MA: Basil Blackwell.

PILGER, John (2001) 'Inevitable Ring to the Unimaginable, < >.

QUALITY ASSURANCE AGENCY (2000) "Benchmarking Academic Standards" < ing.htm>.

RAY, Larry (2001) 'Introduction to the Rapid Response to September 11th, Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 3, <>.

READINGS, Bill (1996) The University in Ruins, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

REDMAN, Peter and Mairtin MAC AN GHAILL (1997) 'Educating Peter: The Making of a History Man', Deborah Lynn Steinberg, Debbie Epstein and Richard Johnson (editors) Border Patrols: Policing the Boundaries of Heterosexuality, London: Cassell, pp. 162-82.

ROSE, Nikolas (1993) 'Government, Authority and Expertise in Advanced Liberalism', Economy and Society Vol 22, No. 3 August 1993, pp. 283-99. SAID, Edward (2001) 'Islam and the West Are Inadequate Banners'. <,6903,5 52764,00.html>.

SCHUGURENSKY, Daniel (1999) 'Higher Education Restructuring in the Era of Globalization: Towards a Heteronomous Model?', Robert F. Arnove and Carlos Alberto Jones (editors) Comparative Education: The Dialectic of the Global and the Local, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefied Publishers, pp. 283- 304.

SHUMAR, Wesley (1997) College for Sale: A Critique of the Commodification of Higher Education London and Washington DC: The Falmer Press.

SLAUGHTER, Sheila and Larry LESLIE (editors) (1997) Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies, and the Entrepreneurial University, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.


THE LECTURER (2002) 'Research Wins Praise—But Waits for Cash', February 2002, p. 1.

THOMSON, David (2001) 'The Disaster Movie Made Flesh and Blood' The Independent on Sunday, 16 September 2001, p. 30.

TIGHT, Malcolm (2000) 'Do League Tables Contribute to the Development of a Quality Culture? Football and HE Compared', Higher Education Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 1, January 2000, pp. 225-42.

VERTIGANS, Stephen and Philip SUTTON (2001) 'Back to the Future: 'Islamic Terrorism' and Interpretations of Past and Present', Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 3 <>.

WHITFIELD, Derek (1999) 'Private Finance Initiative: The Commodification and Marketisation of Education', Education and Social Justice, Vol. 1, No.2, pp. 1-13.

WILLIAMS, Simon (2001) 'From Smart Bombs to Smart Bugs': Thinking the Unthinkable in Medical Sociology and Beyond' Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 3, <http://www.socresonli>.

WORLD Social Forum (2002) 'Globalise Struggle, Globalise Hope' in Red Pepper, March 2002, pp. 30-31.

Copyright Sociological Research Online, 2002