Institut for Statskundskab (Department of Political Science) is the oldest PolSci department in Denmark but its days appear to be numbered. As part of the Great Restructuring, the rector’s office announced the new departmental structure which holds two nasty surprises.
But let us first note that the basis of the Grand Restructuring is that “Big Is Always Good”, the same principle which was behind the Great Danish University Merger some years ago. Okay – academia is prone to trench warfare, fiefdoms and to some degree there are administrative savings to be made. I’m not completely convinced, however – my experience is that as departments grow in size, it becomes necessary to add one or two additional layers below the departmental level to make things work.
But here are the two things which offend me:
1. None of the social science departments have Danish names, only English. Obviously a concession to Åårhus School of Business but also a very clear indication of the massive domain loss suffered by the Danish language. I predict that in ten years time, Danish will no longer be used at university level – and conversely, people educated at Danish universities (like doctors, lawyers and public servants) will not be able to use Danish in their daily work. Or have to take post-graduation courses in order to communicate with people.
Do you see a problem here? I do.
2. “Department of Public Policy and Administration”.
Public policy and administration is a f*****g subdiscipline of political science, not the opposite. (And for the record: Most of my work has been in the field of public policy and administration). Believe me: “Political Science” is an internationally established discipline – and “brand” to use business-speak – which the university management is sabotaging.
The message sent by the university management is that comparative politics, international relations and political theory have no place in the department. Alternatively, the university management has absolutely no clue about what it is dealing with. Not sure which alternative is the worst.