Guttenberg, Schavan und vermutlich auch von der Leyen schrieben systematisch ab. Das wirft ein Licht auf den Hochschulbetrieb überhaupt, schrieb Tobias Fabinger vor einigen Jahren bereits in The Dishwasher. Ein Exzerpt.
Mit dem Leitbild der ‘unternehmerischen Hochschule’ kann Torsten Bultmann vom Bund demokratischer Wissenschaflterinnen und Wissenschaftler nicht viel anfangen: Wissenschaft und Betriebswirtschaft seien unvereinbar. Berechtigte Kritik oder realitätsferne Romantik? Ein Gespräch.
Auf der Grassroots-Veranstaltung „Zwischen Diskriminierung und Dekolonialisierung“ wurden die Diskutant_innen zunächst gebeten, sich über Diskriminierungen an den Hochschulen zu äußern. Katja Urbatsch von Arbeiterkind.de machte dabei die folgenden Statements.
Many students with a foreign passport face a huge number of' 'extras' that they have to fulfill in order to enter the German university system. If one considers how many of these extras are considered common sense, an ugly 'message' is transmitted.
You, dear foreign student, were born outside this social welfare paradise which you are about to enter through the golden academic gate. We shall not let you do this without an ongoing proof that you are not a lazy, no-good, abusive punk who wants to suck our limited resources dry. If you must come (sigh), come with money.
The thing is that these little (and big) extras require a lot of nerve, even more time and convey a bona fide scare or two because you always seem on the brink of being kicked out of the university or out of the country. Here is a list of some amazing an annoying discriminations German university bureaucracies generally support in order to give foreign students a fine taste of German 'welcome culture'.
This is the top three of the saddest words of wisdom we received in the course of writing our dissertation over the last three years. These years will be remembered as our (failed) defense against the incorporation of external interests into our works, of walking on political eggshells, and to hide our intellectualism on any possible level. In between all of this, the following advice struck us as pretty, well, striking.
1. "Fake it till' you make it"
The most important thing to realize here is that faking is considered as the logical path towards 'making' it; there is no way around it (at least to some extent, it is suggested). PhD students become true experts in this. They thus know less than they pretend; so does other academic personnel, by the way. There is a solution for this theater. You can stop faking and start reading the books you say you know. These texts are probably going to help you escaping your sorry state. Another option is to keep on faking and to gain true expertise in it. You end up being an expert faker, along with the man or the woman who is sitting next to you at the PhD conference you are attending.
2. "Choose your enemies wisely"
The subtext of this advice is that you should not critique anyone who could be helpful on the rocky and uncertain paths of your academic career. It's the network, stupid! The result is that one ends up critiquing those academics who are very far away - geographically or epistemologically. The academics from another discipline, or who are dead, or who live on the other side of the Atlantic can be critiqued at will. Tear their work apart, kill their arguments! This gives a critical edge to your work, without having to worry too much that this will affect you. Those academics who are near to you, no matter how mediocre they truly are, are to be treated with the utmost caution. Your future job may depend on them. If you do launch a critique to those of the same field or country, make sure that the person in question is at least a competitor for the same job.
3. "Don't pretend you are a Big Shot; You're Still a Little Worm"
Hands down: this is our favorite advice. It's is all about hierarchy and knowing your place, really: the worm is a lowly creature, so that's where you are placed then, at the bottom. The value of your argument or your work is not what makes you a little worm in the end (although it could be just that, if your expert faking breaks down after all). You are a little worm (not a big one, mind you) because you are a PhD student. Your lack of authority derives from that, not from the value of your intellectual endeavor. You can write a daring and convincing piece of academic research, but the stakes are pretty high you can't defend or publish it that way, 'Daring', 'innovative', 'brilliant' are public labels reserved for those long enough in the business. The pecking order is clear on this one: professors know for sure, students think they know. Given all the fakers in the business, it's not that big of a surprise, of course.
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