THE ACADEMIC REVOLUTION by Christopher & David Riesman Jeneks


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Why is so much sociological literature unreadable? Is it the severe ""scientific"" style that discourages one's attention, or is it that inevitable massing of sheer detail, all those trees that blot out the forest? Everything about The Academic Revolution, from its celebrated authors to the scope of its inquiry and the seriousness of its methodology, suggests that this may well be the most reliable, painstaking, and exhaustive examination of the problems and possibilities of higher education to have been published since the proposals of Conant and Kerr. The university and its historical background, social stratifications and class interests, denominational or Negro colleges, the graduate and professional schools, ""nationalism versus localism,"" maverick movements--certainly the subject matter here leaves nothing to be desired. The discussion is both inclusive and meticulously developed. Yet how abstract, statistical, and remote it all seems. And how conservative its summations or theorizing or prophecies. Was this gray weighty volume really intended as some comment on or rapprochement with the activist campus rebels of today? However exacting and illuminating may be the multitude of facts and speculations set forth, the spirit behind the book appears closer to that of the Fifties than the present temper. Undoubtedly bound to cause a debate between the generations, and to secure prominent review attention.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1968
Publisher: Doubleday