I feel a little late joining this discussion. HOwever, I wanted to throw
my two cents in (to continue the economic metaphor).
As I have listened to the discussion another set of metaphor has occured
to me. It seems to me that Susan and Kenna were echoing two distinct
"fields" (Bourdieu's meatphor). These two fields have somewhat distinct
forms of capital associated with them. different registers, different
genres and therefore different orientations to space and time. The field
of education has always assisted in the development of cultural and
symbolic capital. Of course, these forms of capital can be converted
into economic capital. But the field of education has always been
distinct from the field of Business in that Business is dedicated to
economic capital. Different fields are in constant competition with each
other. And right now it seems as if the field of business is
appropriating or colonizing much of the discourse ( and therefore
ideology of the field of education).
In my view serious losses will result for all concerned. The field of
education has permitted certain genres of both research and personal
development that assist in the development of cultural and symbolic
capital. Pure research projects come to mind, for example. The registers
and argumentative strategies of much marketing discourse with their
emphasis on efficiency and the bottom line simply have a different
orientation to time and space (money).
For any one in the university system in Canada, the losses are already
apparent. Pure research projects are on hold. I know one senior
astro-phycist that has had all his projects begun and then cancelled
during the last 6 years. Large classes are on the increase in a dramatic
way even in fourth year courses. Writing, in particular, is being
dramatically affected by these changes. One instructor teaching 160
students in a third year sociology course cannot ask for any serious
writing assignments. These changes, many of them, are being justified
with the discourse of marketing.
In my view, the saddest thing is that we will all be affected even those
in the field of business.
I find Bourdieu's metaphor of existing in an economy salient, but I also
appreciate his insight that different forms of capital and fields exist.
He, of course, is very critical of the reproductive capacity of the field
of education. But even he admitted that education at least revealed some
of the practices associated with cultural and symbolic capital.
What I fear most--and I see it happening throughout the US in
particular-- is that only children from homes heavily invested in forms
of capital will make it into higher education. Also as someone invested
in the field of education I value cultural and symbolic capital more than
I value ecomonic capital. And I fear even more that only those children
from homes invested in economic capital will make it.