craig calhoun appointed lse director

Social theory guru Craig Calhoun has been appointed LSE director. From the Guardian:

Calhoun, who starts at LSE in September 2012, has been president of the Social Science Research Council in New York since 1999. He has a doctorate in history and sociology from Oxford and a master’s in social anthropology from Manchester University.


Calhoun warns of the compromising effect of private donations on academia in an essay on the clearance of protesters from parks and university campuses.

He writes: “University presidents are also tasked with raising money from wealthy donors. This isn’t optional, partly because politicians have slashed public funding for higher education. Yet relying on private donations to make up the differences changes the character of universities. Among other things, it makes it less and less possible for them to offer public spaces for protest against the control of society by financial interests.”


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Written by fabiorojas

November 25, 2011 at 2:51 am

Posted in academia, fabio

2 Responses

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  1. Shouldn’t that logic apply to any funding source, including the government? I guess the closest thing to an exception is an endowment owned by the college that gives it autonomy.



    November 26, 2011 at 3:58 am

  2. I think Calhoun is more concerned about autonomy from private financial interests than autonomy from the government. At least in theory, the public university is organized to serve the interests of the state, so governments will fund it with relatively few strings attached (hence why most taxpayer funds that support public higher education schools go into the “general fund,” which university administrators then allocate to salaries, maintenance, departments, etc). Since the interests of the state are supposed to coincide with the “public interest,” Calhoun doesn’t mind this dependency.

    What worries him is increasing dependence on private sources of funding, as there is more potential for public/private conflicts of interests. Like it says in the quote from Calhoun, “it makes it less and less possible for them to offer public spaces for protest against the control of society by financial interests,” [and in favor of control by the public(s)].


    Aaron Platt

    November 26, 2011 at 4:25 am

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