[URBANTH-L]Political Economy of Academia (especially with regardto Social Sciences and Humanities)

John McCreery mccreery at gol.com
Sat May 5 21:10:45 EDT 2007

On 5/5/07, George Morgan <george.morgan at uws.edu.au> wrote:
> I agree completely with John McCreery's observation the creation of an academic underclass parallels what is happening more broadly in contemporary Western societies,

Thanks, George. It's a rare day, indeed, when one reads an "agree
completely" on any email list.

Turning again to my own experience, I wonder how far the difficulty
young academics have in addressing this situation depends on

(1) the traditional role of education as a meritocratic means of
escaping a working class or lower middle class background, making it
especially galling when the escape turns out to be another dead end;

(2) schooling along lines that makes it hideously difficult for anyone
who does well  in school and wants to be a scholar to contemplate
doing anything else, especially when the schooling in question affirms
a radical gulf between the sacred space of academe and the worlds of
business and government, depicted as fundamentally evil; or

(3) the horrific combination of feeling betrayed and feeling a failure
that threatens all those who have set their hearts on the Ivory Tower
and now find themselves confined to sweeping out its stables; or

(4) bitter disillusionment with the grand progressive dream that if
only everyone were better educated the world would be a richer, more
rational, and far more pleasant place, instead of a grim battlefield
for economic survival, where academic credentials have been inflated
to nearly worthless?


John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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