Category Archives: The New Project

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

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Nope, not a vaudeville duo. Rather, an 1887 division of social-group types by the German proto-sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies. Gemeinschaft (more or less meaning “community”) is a group of people who work to maintain bonds with one another, who know one another well enough that a sense of belonging matters for its… Read more »

Alternate explanation

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I just re-read Marc Bousquet’s How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation. You should, too, though you should be prepared for a deeply inside-language analysis that privileges critical theory over looking around. But one of the things that I’m still puzzled by is a question that isn’t… Read more »

Professional Boundaries

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What can lawyers do that paralegals cannot? They can establish the attorney-client relationship They can offer legal advice They can sign papers and pleadings on behalf of a client They can appear in court on behalf of a client They can set and collect fees They can earn a national average… Read more »

Difficult Questions

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Not difficult as in complicated, like the force of windload on a high-rise building. But difficult as in contentious, as in perhaps uncharitable, as in perhaps unanswerable at any rate. There are about 18 million undergraduate students in the US, up almost a third since 2000. How many of them,… Read more »

The Barber’s Wisdom

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Every six or eight weeks, I go to the next town over and stop in for a haircut. It’s a one-chair barbershop in a ratty 19th century commercial building, behind the laundromat and across the street from the convenience store. Jeff has three kids. One just got his PhD, one… Read more »

Flooding the Market

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Just got back from some chores, looking through the mail. My wife (Ph.D. Environmental Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center, 1982) got an alumni solicitation letter from the psychology program’s new-ish “Acting Executive Officer,” crowing about the status of the program and asking for dough. Along with the bragging points about $25M in… Read more »

Generational Mobility

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The great immigrant experience is often told in terms of the plucky Irishman or Slav who came over on a crowded boat, got through Ellis Island, and managed to raise his family here in the land of the free. And while those stories are fascinating and plentiful, they’re also partial,… Read more »

Expense Account

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The Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS, a term that maybe should have been in the first book) collects sixteen bajillion data points per year on every college in the US, from enrollment to crime. It takes forever for schools to complete, and like accreditation, puts an inverse burden on… Read more »

Commodification

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Not being a Marxist economist, I can’t add much to the concept of the commodity fetish, except to point out its multiple connections to contemporary higher education. The simple commodity is a product that has absolutely no differentiation by producer and no intention of a relationship between producer and consumer…. Read more »

Forty Years

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I graduated from high school and began college forty years ago, in 1976. So one of the constructions of the new book is to examine what’s different across those four decades. US Population 1976: 218M 2016: 319M (+46%) US Undergraduate Population 1976: 9,419,000 2016: 17,490,000 (+86%) US Grad Student Population… Read more »