Degrees of Failure

In Degrees of Failure, Randle Nelsen brings together such diverse topics as campus parking, college sports, helicopter parents, edu-business as edu-tainment, and technology in teaching to show how continuing inequities, grounded in large part upon social class differences, are maintained and reproduced in our universities.

Paying special attention to the role played by professors in solidifying status-quo arrangements, Nelsen makes the strange familiar for those outside the university bureaucracy and the familiar strange for those whose participation in university settings is a routine part of everyday life.

Randle W. Nelsen

Randle W. Nelsen has taught sociology in Canada and the United States for fifty years. He has written extensively on higher education, professionalism and bureaucratic work, and popular culture. He is the author of Fun & Games & Higher Education: The Lonely Crowd Revisited and Life of the Party: A Study in Sociability, Community, and Social Inequality.
Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price

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This opening chapter looks broadly at the roots of the current higher-education mess, pointing out whose interests the current system supports, and the effects on students, teachers, parents, … 9 $0.90

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Using the examples of three Canadian schools, this chapter demonstrates how issues concerning the automobile, especially both the lack and expansion of on-campus parking, have become major policy … 13 $1.30

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Twentieth-century child-rearing practices in North America have been heavily manipulated by the state and the private sector toward a domestication that suits institutional life. The tense … 19 $1.90

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Undergraduate students occupying the lowest rung on the academic hierarchy are seen as non-professionals who need further training to ensure that they follow the judgments and decisions of their … 16 $1.60

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The rise of the corporate edutainment university portends something new and different that goes well beyond the existence of a social side in college life. Changes in the policies and programs … 33 $3.30

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If we continue pouring resources into an education at a distance centred on the “efficiency” of machine technology our universities will continue to replicate the computerized … 17 $1.70

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The university’s current malaise owes much to an emphasis on the bottom line, on the primacy of vocational training in combination with elements such as an increasingly predatory education … 23 $2.30

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People involved in college and university teaching need to create a higher education version of thinking and acting locally at the classroom level, a vision that will move us towards the goal of … 11 $1.10