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

Public Intellectuals 2.1

  • Daniel W. DreznerEmail author
Symposium: Part I: Public Intellectuals then and now


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.


Public intellectuals Academia Internet Blogs Blogosphere Weblogs 

Further Reading

  1. Brantlinger, P. 2003. Professors and public intellectuals in the information age. Shofar, 21 (Spring).Google Scholar
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  3. DeLong, J. B. 2006. The Invisible college. Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28.Google Scholar
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  6. Etzioni, A., & Bodwitch, A., eds. 2006. Public intellectuals: An endangered species? New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
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  14. Tanenhaus, S. 2008. Requiem for two heavyweights. New York Times, April 13.Google Scholar
  15. Wolfe, A. 2004. The new pamphleteers. New York Times Book Review, July 11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Fletcher SchoolTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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