Adam points to the annoying habit among people doing academic work of moralizing about the “relevance” or accessibility of their work, and, I think, gets to the heart of what’s wrong with the way this usually proceeds. By positioning themselves in opposition to academic “irrelevance”
the speaker can make a double assertion:
- The common people are right to be suspicious of some intellectual work, which really is useless at best or counterproductive at worst.
- I, however, do not do that kind of intellectual work and am very suspicious of it myself.
The problem with this is that by focusing on the individual’s choice of academic style, this kind of move distracts from a critique of the exclusionary power structures of academia. Read more↴