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Fantasies of the New ClassIdeologies of Professionalism in Post-World War II American Fiction$
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Stephen Schryer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157575

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157575.001.0001

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(p.193) Afterword
Fantasies of the New Class

Stephen Schryer

Columbia University Press

This concluding chapter examines Bill Readings's notion of “Thought”—a concept that critiques the bureaucratic paradigm that reduces all aspects of university education to quantitative performance indicators such as grades, amount of revenue generated, and numerical teaching evaluations. The notion states that questions about measuring education are more complicated than what have been assumed, and that they are always occasions for further debate. Thus, privileging the idea as the basis for education entails a new task for the university: “the task of rethinking the categories that have governed intellectual life for over two hundred years.” However, with Readings' deconstructive articulation of new class fantasy, the saving remnant's imagined social agency becomes more and more tenuous, in such a way that intellectuals must abandon all of the transcendental justifications for their work that once flourished in the national university.

Keywords:   Bill Readings, Thought, social agency, intellectual life, new class fantasy

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