expertise

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at acpub.duke.edu
Mon Jan 30 11:00:38 MST 1995


On Mon, 30 Jan 1995, Justin Schwartz wrote:

> Changing the subject, Jon Beaseley-Murray complains that my recent posts
> have involved a regrettably elitist element, aspect, or tone. I presume
> that this refers to my claim that there a place in a revolutionary
> movement for extremely abstruse, technical, and specialized inquiries
> which require professional training or long study to master or to
> contribute something worthwhile to.

No, I've been misunderstood here.  I was referring to your
characterization of the working class as unwilling to learn, and some of
your comments generated by your experience at OSU.  I'd call this the
"exasperated elitism" of the progressive pedagogue... but unfortunately
this is still an elitism, function of too-great an identification with
the educational system, though the latter is, I think, essential to the
activity of teaching, which is impossible without this kind of bad faith
(here cf. Bourdieu and Passeron's _Reproduction_).

Broadly I agree with your "defense of expertise."  This is why I can't
agree that Marxism (or any other liberatory movement) can reduce itself
to popularization.  What is necessary is to expand the sphere of
education, and equalize the differential possibilities of access, so all can
achieve similar levels of expertise, should they want to do so.  Louis'
call for popularization curiously seems to imply letting the present
educational system be--abandoning it to the hands of capital?

> --Justin

Take care

Jon

Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at acpub.duke.edu
http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/~spoons

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