As an ‘accidental academic’, I have come to recognise the value of the academy ‘reluctantly’ and the ways in which it is much more directly relevant to the so-called ‘real world’ than it was when I was an undergraduate (quite a long time ago).
But, I also recognise that becoming a scholar has had an advantage over being a media professional (radio and TV), although both professions are increasingly being undermined, ‘proletarianized’ and stratified (actually, most professions are being ‘proletarianized’, except for stock brokers and bankers).
Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed working in media because you do get to deal with ideas, as least as a journalist, writer or producer (though that increasingly appears to be less true than it was 20 years ago).
Yet, as a scholar, I do not have to deliver to commercial or political-economic interests – at least not directly (e.g. advertisers, investors) – and you are paid to engage in research (reading, writing, publishing), teaching and service.
The role of the academic or scholar is more important (I would say that, wouldn’t I?!) than it was even 20 years ago, especially as fewer people have the time (or inclination?) to engage in serious study. The situation for most academics in the UK, USA and Canada is increasingly fraught with trying to meet the ever-growing demands on one’s time with increasing class sizes, fewer resources and more bureaucrats demanding more reports (to make their own positions appear relevant).
Part of my attempt to deal with the increasing sense of a world increasingly hurtling out of control is to attempt to engage with it in a more timely fashion, hence my attempts to start using tweeting and blogging and to see if my own (semi) public engagement will have an impact (I am still learning how to actually do these posts, as I am trying to learn, for example, how to set up tags, and so on).
I hope to offer some insights and timely commentary gained from my own expertise and knowledge as well as experience, linking both common sense and good sense, on such areas of interest and concern as poverty, living wages, pensions, unions, knowledge, higher education and neoliberalism.
Will this blog have an (any??) impact on the worlds in which I work and live and/or will others respond to it?! Will it have any influence on the way anyone thinks or acts?! Or will I be the primary audience for my own thoughts (writ digital)?!