Consumerism and Education
At many universities changes are happening every day for students. According to a 1997 article in Harper’s Magazine by Mark Edmundson titled On the Uses of a Liberal Education, universities are changing due to consumerism affecting the education system. A professor of English at the University of Virginia. In the article, Edmundson says his overall point is that the consumer ethos is winning (Edmundson 50).
The setting of this discussion involves the academic setting of the classroom that Mark Edmundson teaches in. As a professor at the University of Virginia, Edmundson has published many scholarly articles on literary and cultural criticism. As part of his life work and career, one could see how Edmundson is very knowledgeable as he uses several examples of himself and his students to explain the problem of consumerism affecting the education system.
Edmundson beings by telling us about one of his classes on a day he doesn’t exactly enjoy, evaluation day. He noticed a buzz amongst the class and how all his students are wide awake. Though Edmundson describes himself as feeling distressed as he left the room even though he usually gets good reviews he says:
Yet I have to admit that I do not much like the image of myself that emerges from these forms, the image of knowledgeable, humorous detachment and bland tolerance. I do not like the forms themselves, with their number rating, reminiscent of the sheets circulated after the TV pilot has just played to its sample audience in Burbank. Most of all I dislike the attitude of calm consumer expertise that persuades the responses. (Edmundson 4)
Here Edmundson is referencing the “cool consumer” wo...
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...tudents, unless there is a rare one who possesses the passion to learn. Edmundson is using a certain tone in his objective writing to try to be persuasive and clear.
In conclusion, Edmundson makes his point well and clear for his readers. He is very descriptive, precise, and informative. The stories of his students and the effect of consumerism on them are very interesting. Edmundson says that it is ultimately up to us as individuals and students to ultimately make our own way against the tide of consumerism and to reach our true potential by being challenged. We may have to do stuff we don’t like, but it will have been better for us in the end.
Edmundson, Mark. “On the Uses of a Liberal Education.” From Inquiry to Academic Writing. Stuart Greene and April Lidinsky, eds. Boston: Bedfor
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