Blogademia

25 November 2006 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

Just read this commentary by Craig Saper, which mentions “nomad scholars” and their use of blogs to compensate for the insecurity of their position:

In her synthesis of political theory and cultural studies, Jodi Dean, in her scholarship, rather than in her popular blog, exposes the myth of the nomadic academic’s networking as inherently liberating.

Other intellectuals are forced to migrate, to serve as itinerate, contingent, academic piece-workers. They teach heavy loads with few benefits and less security. Often they are pushed out of the academy altogether. They are forced into exile and deported. Those with time to write may lack the resources to attend academic meetings and to cultivate opportunities to publish their work. Those who do publish may despair at the unlikelihood that what they write will be noticed, will count, will register in the discussions that matter to them. Institutions like universities and nations are thus bars separating privileged from forced mobility. Claims to cosmopolitanism, inclusion, and significance notwithstanding, even in, especially in, the networks of communicative capitalism, there are barriers that cannot be crossed, loops that cannot be broken. Mobility depends on fixity.(n.p.)

Those blogademics often express this sense of itinerate work and uncertain futures. The blogs serve as a salve for, and a utopian simulation of, the privileged mobility of cosmopolitanism, diverse points of view, and political networks. This view of blogademia has a certain charming pathos; considering the blogs as a desperate form of expression might avoid considering them as research, experimentation, and legitimate scholarship. Most academics, including the bloggers, do not think these blogs have any impact on scholarship, and the production of knowledge, precisely because they have no editorial review process.

It is certainly true that this blog is a “desperate form of expression,” but it is not driven by the pressures of being a nomad within the institution.

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Entry filed under: academia.

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