| Until the thesis, acceptable academic papers are collages of content from experts. Here is an enlightening conversation with my 12-year-old niece Dorothy: |
She: How do you write books, Uncle Lambert?
Me: (Hand sweeping over books I had assembled to write a chapter of an introductory textbook in psychology) I read all those books by and about Freud and then write a chapter on Freud.
She: Oh - you copy?
Me: No. If I take it from one book, I'm copying; if I take it from many books, I'm doing research.
She: I don't see the difference.
Me: Beat it, kid.
There are excellent summaries of previous critiques of the Ph. D. - for example, The Ph. D. Octopus by William James (Pages 71-72) , Higher Learning in America by Thorstein Veblen (Pages 72-73), and The Credential Society by Randall Collins (Page 232). The author is intelligently aware that the problem can not be understood or solved in isolation. He considers then the parallel critiques of other aspects of the structure of the academy. In Killing the Spirit by Page Smith (Page 82) and in Petrified Campus by David Bercuson, Robert Bothwell and J. L. Granatstein (Pages 219-223) , the authors focus largely on the tenure trap. The Ph. D. trap guards the entrance to the academy and the tenure trap guards the exit.
Between those twin traps, sits securely (and some say smugly) the scholar, entrenched in what Collins calls the "sinecure sector" where they receive "disguised welfare" (Page 78). Other critiques document the various ways in which the resultant power corrupts. Profscan by Charles Sykes (Pages 99-102) focuses on various inadequacies of professors, The Invisible Faculty by Judith M. Gappa and David W. Leslie (Pages 223-229) on the exploited part-time teachers who fill in the gap left by professors, Ivory Power: Sexual Harassment on Campus edited by Michelle A. Paludi (Pages 268-269) on the abuse of power by professors, and The University in Ruins by Bill Readings (Page 203) on the transformation of the university from a community of scholars into a corporation.
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