The Academic Marketplace

The Academic Marketplace

The Academic Marketplace

The Academic Marketplace

Excerpt

Since this book deals with the two fundamental concerns of academic men -- their working conditions and their performance ex cathedra -- it is likely that the last persons to hear about its existence will be the academic profession. For, as the authors of this study point out, the present customs and desires of that profession enforce upon its members a tradition of secrecy, ignorance, and self-deception which, though neither deliberate nor perverse, is yet remarkable in a social group wedded to the forms of truth.

The observers' point of departure was the current problem of mobility within the academic marketplace. First, what is happening to young and old, competent and incompetent, in the accelerated scramble for positions of prestige and emolument in the college and university world? And second, what is happening to colleges and universities themselves in a period of rapid change? While sorting out fact from legend and trying to discern trends, Messrs. Caplow and McGee had to consider all the working parts of the system -- if system it can be called -- and to assess their suitability to the professed purpose. Their report on the actualities, the myths, and the consequences of present routines thus amounts to an anatomy of an institution.

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