The Irrational Consumer Culture Surrounding Education

Decent Essays

In his book Why Teach?, Mark Edmundson constructs an argument about the paradoxical consumer culture surrounding education. The Virginian professor takes a stance on the problems that he has both experienced in his own classroom and observed on campuses, and he approaches each problem in turn, making significant claims which are assigned appropriate blames. His essay, “Liberal Arts & Lite Entertainment,” originally published in 1997, is broken into six sections and begins with his experience at his own university before branching out to all those across the country. Following this is a deduction of student culture as well as professors. He gives hope to the idea of the acceptance and praising of “genius” (as opposed to the alienation students endorse so well) towards the end of his essay, narrowing his argument down to a more specific change that could possibly cause a domino effect from individual students to universities across America. The scale of the situation is much too large to be easily fixed, and it is clear that Edmundson’s purpose in writing this essay is to inform those who are engulfed in the academic world. More specifically, it seems, he targets professors and higher-level students, and even possibly their parents. By singling out these people and making the problem of consumer culture in universities known to those who care exponentially about educating the youth, it is much more likely that Edmundson’s argument will trickle down to said youth in the process

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