Prof. Blogger

Rebecca Goetz says blogging and the academe do go together, in spite of fearmongering that leads to this: “I also received a few disheartening e-mail messages from grad students who had been told not to even think of blogging because it would destroy their chances of getting a tenure-track job.” [via Drezner]

  • The thing is that the Powers that Be are deathly afraid that people are actually going to converse with one another and blow up their hegemony. The whole social strata of this country (yes, our own class system) stays in place because of The Secret Handshake and Wink-Wink-Nudge-Nudge social mores that are passed down thru the generations. Blogging allows The Rabble to compare notes with one another, share frustrations, and, quite possibly, devise strategies to move up in the world.

    Given how the Bush administration’s economic policies are further increasing the gap between the rich and poor, and continue to shrink the middle class virtually out of existence, conversation about the frustrations inherent in the heady social milieus of academe can only help a whole bunch of us get somewhere that we’re not meant to be. That’s why they don’t like blogging. Too bad.

  • Trish: Huh?

    Blogging can be hazardous to tenure prospects because:

    1) “Popular” writing is frowned-upon, looked at as frivolous and unserious. This has nothing to do with blogging in specific, but applies to any sort of non-research writing.

    2) A prominent style, of confessional flaming, is very, very, bad for an untenured junior academic. Senior tenured academics might be able to get away with it. But annoy ONE fusspot on the tenure committee, and it’s bye-bye.

    It’s not because they’re afraid that Blogging is so very powerful that anyone who associates with the revolutionary movement of The People must be purged due to the power they may wield … (the facts of who is making decision about whom shows exactly where the power is!).

  • Mirra

    Graduate students publishing conservative or pro-war viewpoints in any form of media, journals or popular blogs, risk endangering their future careers.

  • Seth…you missed my point. Then again, maybe I was having an over-inflated vocabulary moment which made my hypothesis somewhat inchoate (oops! I did it again!)

    the thing is that when people talk outside the Confines of their socio-economic/academic class, they threaten the status quo. Yes, it’s what you say (I’ve heard that) but it’s slightly larger than that too. There is always that “how dare you give away our secrets!” mentality. It’s endemic to any group or place that wants to preserve the status quo. How that message comes out, however, differes. So, in the case of untenured profs, the “frivolous” label functions as a way of pooh-poohing the thing they fear–open communication.

    And Mirra has a point…it’s also a point that can be said for undergrads who express conservative viewpoints in customarily “liberal” academic institutions. I am always reminded of Stalin in those instances.

  • Tish, OK, sorry if I misread.

    I still think the angle of approach s a bit off though – there’s certain conduct that one is expected to have as an academic, and it has less to do with giving away secrets than in not being like nonacademics. Remember, the mantra is “Publish Or Perish”. You’re supposed to communicate – but in a very constrained way, which is remote, impersonal, thoughtful, abstract, and so on (again, very much against a common blog style of rapid ranting, too often without regard to whether the trigger of the rant is in fact true).

    I suppose I’m saying that elaborate analysis is hiding the obvious – there’s many very simple good reasons to be wary.