Humanities in Capitals: Human Capital, Cultural Capital, and the Critique of the Knowledge Economy

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This paper will explore the precarious standing of ‘the human’ of the humanities, as it is increasingly circumscribed by policy directions ostensibly derived from notions of ‘human capital’ and ‘cultural capital’ within a ‘knowledge economy’. The surrounding field, as it is articulated in higher education policy directives, refers the definition of the status of the humanities to Bourdieuian notions of 'cultural capital' on the one hand, and to the parameters of the ‘human capital’ of the Chicago School on the other hand. This paper will caution against the attempt at deriving New Directions for the Humanities from any one or combination or conflation of such blueprints.


Keywords: humanities, human capital, cultural capital, knowledge economy, critique
Stream: Knowledge
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Ulrike Kistner

Associate Professor, Department of Classics & Modern European Languages, University of South Africa, Pretoria
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Ulrike Kistner has been teaching in the fields of Theory of Literature, Comparative Literature, Gender, Media, and Cultural Studies, and German Studies. Her research interests include psychoanalysis, narratology, literary, political, and aesthetic theory, and postcolonial studies. She has published a book, 'Commissioning and Contesting Post-Apartheid Human Rights', and numerous articles, most recently on cosmopolitanism, and Enlightenment philosophy and aesthetic theory.

Ref: H08P0225