The Fable of the Individual
Now aged in his 50s, Rupert had always worked in the university sector. Economic history was his specialisation — a field in which he was a well published, widely read, and respected scholar. He had developed a commitment to academic work and university teaching during his formative student years, when scholarship and education were generally highly valued as public goods. To understand society, and the world in general, through the academic disciplines, was seen, on the one hand, as contributing importantly to the development of mature, responsible, and fulfilled individuals, who would thereby be more supportive, contributing, and responsible members of democratic society. On the other hand, such understanding was seen as developing, for the benefit of society as a whole, the intellectual potential of its citizens, in the formation of professionals and other leaders who would work with wisdom, both moral and intellectual, and expertise, in their chosen fields. These twin notions of education as the foundation of civic responsibility and vocational expertise for the betterment of society, underpinned the view of the educational world in which he was raised Such an education was, necessarily, both broadly liberal — in the humanities and the sciences — and focused on the development of professional expertise. The work of those individuals who contributed to the generation of knowledge that progressed either of these educational strands was, correspondingly, highly valued as a public good In such a world, it was only natural, right and proper that Rupert should commit his life to an academic career.
KeywordsAcademic Staff Academic Work Economic History Civic Responsibility Formative Student
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