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ERIC Number: EJ809758
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1086-4822
The Binary Ties that Bind
Rose, Mike
About Campus, v13 n4 p30-32 Sep-Oct 2008
As any reader of "About Campus" knows, binary oppositions contribute to the definitions of institutional types--the trade school versus the liberal arts college, for example. They help define disciplines and subdisciplines and the status differentials among them: consider the difference in intellectual cachet as one moves from linguistics to applied linguistics to Teaching English as a Second Language. They can define a topic of instruction as a "skill," which in an academic context implies an applied technique devoid of a serious knowledge base. To define something as a skill in the academy is to ensure debates over course credit, budget, and even its continued presence on campus. The teaching of remedial writing and freshman composition provides a good illustration of this phenomenon. More subtly but nonetheless powerfully, the binary oppositions contribute to the formal and informal judgments educators make about each other across departments and within them as well. Those who are "theorists" tend to hold more cultural capital than those whose work is "applied." The same is true for those who define their career by their teaching versus those seen as emphasizing research or for those whose work with students is perceived to involve intellectual versus social development. The issue, as the author sees it, is the confounding role that binary classification plays in all of this, for the binary oppositions carry with them troubling status distinctions and simplify the complex nature of knowledge and inquiry. In this article, the author suggests that educators need to rethink their shorthand, dichotomous vocabulary about what they do with hand and brain. (Contains 2 notes.)
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A