[Marxism] Terry Eagleton on intellectuals and academics

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Nov 19 12:22:41 MST 2013

Intellectuals are not only different from academics, but almost the 
opposite of them. Academics usually plough a narrow disciplinary patch, 
whereas intellectuals [...] roam ambitiously from one discipline to 
another. Academics are interested in ideas, whereas intellectuals seek 
to bring ideas to an entire culture. The word "intellectual" is not a 
euphemism for "frightfully clever", but a kind of job description, like 
"waiter" or "chartered accountant". Anger and academia do not usually go 
together, except perhaps when it comes to low pay, whereas anger and 
intellectuals do.

Above all, academics are conscious of the difficult, untidy, nuanced 
nature of things, while intellectuals take sides. [Being] both angry and 
analytic, [they are] aware that, in all the most pressing political 
conflicts which confront us, someone is going to have to win and someone 
to lose. It is this, not a duff ear for nuance and subtlety, which marks 
them out from the liberal [academic].

--Terry Eagleton in "The Last Jewish Intellectual"

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