i am getting frustrated, therefore i started creating a page. a page which should reflect how dreams become nightmares.
Prelude to the pleasures of reclaiming the E
At Lancaster University used to exist an institution, which promised to fulfill several dreams: the Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy.
Although there were/are some structural implications (Philosophy RAE) and a complex arrangement of affairs (CSEC & Philosophy members who used to work together across departmental boundaries found themselves competing for the same resources/funding and unable to deal that) central to the death of IEPPP it has been a long, painful process with a very poor and authoritarian management style.
It could be argued that the process of getting rid of the "environment" began with the appointment of a new director in 2003 where a choice was made, amongst others, between an applicant that had as his special area of interest the environment and an applicant, the one who got the job, whose interest was not at all related to the environment. In fact he appeared so uneasy about it that the removal of the word "environment" from the title of the institute was his first and foremost priority.
Upon appointment the new director immediately suggested to drop the "E", a proposal made public, so to speak, at an institute meeting without any prior consultation with a range of key members of staff whose interest were, and continue to be, the environment. It has been nothing but downhill from there.
During the process a number of new appointments have been made. These new appointments have little or no interest in the environment, or environmental questions. Some claim that not enough effort was made to ensure that the appointments that were advertised for and then made would sustain the research culture that had developed and which was a "unique selling proposition" that brought students from far corners of the world. Others say that those applicants with an interest in the environment simply were not good enough. Good enough for what?
In any case, whether local preference and politics or bureaucratic impositions from above, there is no longer a unique selling proposition in the now downgraded "Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy". The "E" has been dropped.
The dream that could have continued, despite the circumstances, has been actively destroyed:
- information is not circulated freely:
- most recently: non-permanent staff is excluded from staff email list
- soon after appointment the new Director in 2003 censored the mailing list what made up the basis of the IEPPP community, namely "ieppp-all [at] lists.lancs.ac.uk". The list became "moderated" (which in list language means censored) because some of the informaiton sharing did not suit the new leadership.
- the 'environment' is excluded from structure and content of reesearch as well as from the name: IEPPP became IPPP.
- students are not informed about changes, they are upset that they have been misled and bought in good faith what no longer exists
- future students are misled in the same manner, despire current students repeated proposals to make clear on the website that the institute is reorienting itself towards bioethics, medical ethics and that sort of thing.
Drop an E or Make Love
Indeed, IPPP behaves as if it has dropped an E. in happy oblivion whilst the horrors of capitalism continue outside its indulgent, hedonistic dance. all together now! the monotonous monolith of the institution, especially weak under the influence of its new dealer, yet intrinsically faltering as it matures and increasingly mingles with alternative realities. wake up and smell the blood of those in resistance and hear the sounds the Earth makes as it's being violated.
We suggest something less absurd. Emotion without commodification. Environment without bureaucracy. Emancipation; impossible under false ideology. Enthusiasm with nature, not co-opted by management. Empathy with the earth rather than profit. Encouraging dissent, not acceptance that ethics and politics are somehow private. Evolving from the mechanistic, clinical rituals of the academy. Ecological insurrection and autonomy. Escaping neo-liberal brainwashing and alienation. Engulfing each other and the earth with our collective passion. Embracing radical, alive politics. Engaging with the real questions. Empowerment through criticism. Evolving movements. Envigorating the stale, formal spaces with our colours and anarchy. Encouraging new routes out of the mess of non-applied philosophy through countless Examples of our willingness to show the true darkness of capitalism. Enticing those who have lost or never had the dream to join in our adventure of concrete and meaningful action. let us Elope from the boredom of the state in a communal romance to be united in a riot of nearness.
Criticism on I(E)PPP Management
Four different kinds of problems are differentiated by many students of the institute:
- Communication - Students are not informed about relevant developments and changes in the institute. Students are only informed when they ask explicitly and repeatedly. Management people promise students to keep them up to date. This, however, is not the case. Meetings with management do not lead to changed conduct of management.
- Public - The homepage does not inform the public about the highly relevant changes within the institute. This especially concerns potential future students who cannot make informed decisions about coming to Lancaster or not. This goes together with the fact that Postgraduate Prospectuses of the university are not updated with notes about the changes in the institute.
- Part-time students - It is not clear how the institute ensures high quality academic environment for students in the next academic year.
- Environmental Philosophy - The institute is deliberatley decreasing the amount of academic staff in this area and modules. This affects not only the quality of MA programmes of the institute but also is a tremendous statement about the role of philosophy and the humanities in environmental discourse in general.