October 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
If professional victimhood and women’s advocacy is a billion dollar industry, gender studies is hardly a “worthless degree.” It is already shaped by market incentives like most other fields of study in the humanities.
A privatized model of education turns academics into lawyers for ideas. They become shills for whoever can promote their career outside of academia. That is why gender studies takes the ideological bent that it does, not because it is cloistered and protected from this or any other market and so it can freely go down the cultural Marxist lunatic rabbit hole without any consequences. It’s quite the opposite: Professional victimhood is where the career opportunities and jobs are for people who study gender. Taking a particular view of gender which would challenge feminist orthodoxy actually puts you outside of an academic mainstream and makes your research or arguments useless to whoever can open career doors for you.
As one of the guests pointed out, all this identity politics bullshit surfaced in the 1970s. That is precisely when the current think-tank-ocracy developed, both on the right and left. In fact, the original think tanks were right wing ones that surfaced to counter the apparent victory of the left in the 1960s. They were attempting to copy the success of the left wing Institute for Policy Studies which pioneered the “teach-in” to drum up opposition to the Vietnam War.
So that’s why feminist stupidity has the currency that it does in academia. Gender studies feminist extremism and advocacy is a product of rational market incentives, not the lack of them. As it turns out, people care about women and will throw money at their supposed issues, as Anita Sarkeesian’s 160 thousand dollar kickstarter bonanza demonstrates. If you want to see an antifeminist academia or somebody taking gender studies and sociology back from the identity politics left, it would have to have a support base outside of academia, since this is what truly determines which schools of thought win out over others, unfortunately.
The point of research is to figure out what is true, not what is most useful or profitable for the researcher or somebody else. What’s true isn’t always going to be what somebody wants to hear or what has immediate financial value. That’s the problem with believing that research – which is the real point of universities – can be beholden to the market and that this will somehow solve everybody’s problems, as if ideas are like brand name sneakers and video game consoles.