[csaa-forum] RE: Another attack on CS in the Oz

David Nolan d.nolan at unimelb.edu.au
Fri Jul 28 15:19:06 CST 2006

To chuck in my tuppence worth, I think I feel somewhere between the 
'softly softly' line and Greg Noble's rather more pointed response.

On the one hand, yes it is important for academics to engage in 
broader public discussion in ways that resonate with non-academic 
audiences.  On the other, it it also important important that the 
sector retains the space to reflect and theorise on issues pertaining 
to 'the everyday' without being tied to the 'common sense' terms of 
discourse that Dawson appears to believe mandatory even at academic 

I agree with the point that what the author's politics 'actually' are 
are not really the issue here - the issue is the argument she makes. 
The major problem with it, it seems to me, is that it makes many of 
the same kind of populist moves of 'anti-PC' discourse.  That is, it 
positions certain forms of discussion as reflecting an 'out of touch' 
elite that has lost touch with 'the people', and proceeds on the 
basis of that positioning to delegitimise such discussion as a valid 
form of speech.  That this move is coming from the left is, in some 
respects, even more disturbing, as it effectively constitutes a 
refusal to engage with political and intellectual difference outside 
the terms of 'everyday' public discourse.  Whatever the author's 
intentions, this is (at best) a very dangerous line to take in the 
current political climate.

Dr David Nolan
Media and Communications Program
Faculty of Arts
University of Melbourne
Parkville 3010

Ph: (03) 8344 3345
e-mail: d.nolan at unimelb.edu.au
Web:  www.mediacomm.unimelb.edu.au

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