Society

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 49–54 | Cite as

Public Intellectuals 2.1

Symposium: Part I: Public Intellectuals then and now

Abstract

Despite renewed interest in public intellectuals, the consensus view is that they are in a state of decline. Furthermore, the Internet is viewed as one of the factors accelerating their decline. This essay takes the contrary position: the growth of online venues has stimulated rather than retarded the quality and diversity of public intellectuals. The criticisms levied against these new forms of publishing seem to mirror the flaws that plague the more general critique of current public intellectuals: hindsight bias and conceptual fuzziness. Rather, the growth of blogs and other forms of online writing have partially reversed a trend that many have lamented what Russell Jacoby labeled “professionalization and academization” in The Last Intellectuals. In particular, the growth of the blogosphere breaks down or at least lowers the barriers erected by a professionalized academy. They also provide a vetting mechanism through which public intellectuals can receive feedback and therefore fulfill their roles more effectively.

Keywords

Public intellectuals Academia Internet Blogs Blogosphere Weblogs 

Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Fletcher SchoolTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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