By Sarah Amsler, Lecturer in Sociology at Aston University (Birmingham, UK), Posted: December 10, 2010 10:55 AM
Under what might now need to be termed comparatively normal circumstances, I have often agonised over helping my students understand the practical significance of critical theory. They ask, but what can one actually do with Herbert Marcuse today? In a scheduled class, it all feels so remote.
Now I can say, look: his work is a defense against injustice. Or in the more eloquent words of the London Book Bloc, inspired by its Italian counterpart, “books are our tools — we teach with them, we learn with them, we play with them, we create with them, we make love with them and, sometimes, we must fight with them.” In today’s fourth, most passionate and most ungoverned national demonstration against the British government’s wholesale privatization of higher education, books-as-shields replaced pens-as-swords. Creative militancy meets militant creativity, and this may be one of the most defining characteristics of the emerging student movement.
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