Comments on the CSB Pilot Course by Ljubisa Petrushevski, Dean at Euro College of Kumanovo (MK)
In response to the comments given by Lithuanian Team involved in the CSB project and in regard to the experience of teaching “Cultural Studies in Business” Pilot Course, Dr. Ljubisa Petrushevski, Dean at Euro College of Kumanovo (Republic of North Macedonia) adds some comments.
I think that in the course of a year and a half since we started our collaboration, we have learned a lot from listening to each other and comparing our findings and ideas with the rest of the peers. I think that all teams contributed substantially in the attempt to navigate ourselves in the completely unchartered territory, at least for the contemporary academics. If we take more historical approach, on the other hand, we will come to the fascinating conclusion that the academic disciplines of today were not so strictly demarcated. To a Greek philosopher for example, the mentioning of the “cultural studies” would be a familiar notion. In fact, the Greek term mousike invariably meant not only music and harmonics in general but an educational activity meaning “cultural education” or “cultural studies”. Plato mentioned mousike in Republic as a starting point in the education of the youth in Athens to be followed by techne (ars in Latin) which stands for the art of performing certain activity, be it artistic, crafty or scientific. Therefore, there was no difference between the activity of art, craft and science. In addition, the Greeks invented the concept of kubernesis which roughly denoted activities of directing/healing people. With the Greeks, directing carried individual political stance whereby the King had to ethnically heal and direct himself from all the evils so that to be able to direct and heal others. Oikonomia was thus part of the self-directing process that was designed to link the family (oikos) with the ethical principle (nomos). The failure to do so produced familial and collective destruction (as with the tragedy of Oedipus). With the rise of the state, kiberneses meant the act of governing, allocated to the collective body of the Government. Nowadays we have cybernetic technology that is performing the activity of governing (and, as we are growingly aware, of control). Around the 1980’s, in line with the latest transformation of the kibernesis a new term appeared: management. MBA schools became very popular since they advocated novel ways of managing people under a very vague term business administration.
So, what we think when we say Cultural Studies in Business might be termed “cultural education in doing business” or “the culture and the art of managing business in the spirit of innovation” All this refers to education and, specifically, to the education of postgraduate students which have previous knowledge of the basics of business and economy.
In that respect, the question posed by the Lithuanian team, “Regarding the syllabus two main question were raised and discussed: 1) To which extend do we distinguish Business and Economics? 2) Do we take Cultural Studies as supplement to business (eg. how it can serve the business) or do we take it as an important and necessary component of the university education overall?” is correct.
My answer will be that the difference between the Economy and the Business is between the hardware and the software and, as we know from technology, they are not mutually exclusive. Business is Economy put into practice whereby the overall economical set up influences the way one performs the business activity. On the other hand, without businesses, the Economy would just be an abstract map, an empty modelling without any recourse to the reality.
The second question is more difficult. I think that anyone involved in business activity should be aware of the cultural education, specifically now when new digital businesses emerge on a daily basis. In this respect, classical Business Studies will be of little use. Finally, I totally agree that Cultural Studies should be part of the overall education, especially on the Master and Doctorate level. According to my understanding, we should return back to the basis of the educational process, which to the Greeks was “cultural education” where humanities, science and economy would be retied again.
Lastly, I would like to add few more words on the “lost and found” concept that I presented in Portugal. In the noisy world we live in now, it is essential that students navigate themselves properly in order to meet the demands of the accelerated pace of modern life. The very navigation should take the form of what philosophers term “cognitive mapping”. In that respect, they should know how to deliberately slow down and take their pace and rhythm in order to develop their capacities for innovation. In other words, innovation is a process that, first of all, means “to be lost”, to leave the cultural dominant forms and to embark on the road that is unknown and has no clear definition and form; to experiment with pieces and fragments like a child until a new concept or form appears. The knowledge obtained by being lost is crucial. It is our obligation to push students to the unchartered territories so that, once they return back as new personalities, they won’t need us anymore. Those who are innovative will perform the same operation on their own; the others will grab the certainty of the known and will never venture to experiment anymore. In both cases, we are doing what we are supposed to do. The ones that have passed all the stages of techne will be ready to be philosophers as leaders, as Plato envisaged in The Republic.
I hope I have clarified some of my ideas regarding the concept of our project. Needless to say, I find your contributions and comments invaluable in the process of navigating this study towards some agreeable outcome.
written by Dr. Ljubisa Petrushevski, Dean at Euro College of Kumanovo (Republic of North Macedonia). Team Leader and lecturer on behalf of the "CSB pilot course" core activity of the Erasmus Plus K203 Project "Cultural Studies in Business".