318.8 Visual discourses of the University of Santiago de Chile: Higher education advertisement, wall paintings and graffiti

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 12:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Distributed Paper
Elisabeth SIMBUERGER , Education, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile, Chile
Trying to capture the contemporary idea of the university, the neoliberal or entrepreneurial university have become common labels to depict the growing marketisation of universities worldwide. Discussing the relationship between the neoliberal and the public university and the increasing colonisation of the public sphere by neoliberalism, discourse analysis has mostly focused on qualitative interviews, media reports and policy documents. Visual culture, however, has mostly been neglected as a source of discourse. This is even more surprising as Higher Education advertisement, graffiti and wall paintings can provide us with rich insights into contemporary ideas of the university. The paper investigates two forms of visual discourses of the university and how they relate to each other: Higher Education advertisement in public transport and wall paintings and graffiti in and around universities. I discuss this based on a visual ethnography I carried out in Santiago de Chile in 2010. At the center of my discussion is the question of how the neoliberal university has even occupied visual culture and leaves less and less space for alternative formats. The theoretical and practical implications shall be discussed. Finally, the research will be challenged by the latest developments of the Chilean students’ movement that sparked a revival of alternative visual discourses of the university, looking beyond Higher Education advertisement.