The Social Construction of the US Academic Elite
A Mixed Methods Study of Two Disciplines
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This book explores the stark stratification and struggles over classifications in US academia from a relational perspective, looking beyond material differences and tracing its roots to symbolic power relations. Based on a mixed methods study drawing on both interview and quantitative data, it offers an account of the workings of academia, shedding light on the structures that permit elite departments to define categories and impose legitimate scientific definitions, to which the non-elite must adhere. With a focus on two scientific disciplines, the author shows how the translation of objective structures into mental structures establishes a relationship of power with regard to the definition of scientific categories, thus determining access to resources and opportunities to participate and move within the academic field. A study of the unequal intrusion of economic logics into the academic domain, this volume will appeal to scholars, policy makers and institutional leaders with interests in higher education, inequality within science, academic careers, power relationships and competition in the academy.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Richard Münch
1. The stratification and economization of academia and its consequences
2. A relational approach to the social
3. The reconstruction of two US academic fields
4. Tracing trajectories through the academic field
5. Structured narratives
Stephanie Beyer is a postdoctoral researcher at the Leibniz Center for Science and Society, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany.