ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Only What Does Not Fit In Can Be True'

De-professionalisation and Academia in Relation to Adorno and Tagore

This paper explores de-professionalisation--interpreted here as the experience of finding that the work one does, does not fit into the demands of the profession-- in the context of Theodor Adorno and Rabindranath Tagore. While both were writers, they were also part of the academic world and it is their grappling with the demands of academia that this paper looks into and elucidates.

This paper was presented at a symposium on “De-professionalisation” organised by Amit Chaudhuri and Jon Cook of the University of East Anglia at the India International Centre, Delhi, 7–8 January 2016. The concept note for the symposium stated: “The subject of the symposium is ‘de-professionalisation’—the urge, as a creative practitioner, or, indeed, a practitioner of any kind, not to be identified with one genre or activity, and to be, in general, a critic of specialisation and a champion of dabbling. The word ‘dabbling’ is being used here partly ironically, of course, but also full on, to convey the force of what a serious writer or thinker might achieve when they consciously diverge from the genre or practice they’re most identifi ed with and even respected for. The idea and act of ‘de-professionalisation’ is really a critique of the construction of the writer, artist, or intellectual today—by publishers, by media, by festivals, by writers themselves. It also accommodates the notion of value: for instance, the idea that someone may not be ‘good’ at or trained in the skills of a particular project or genre or form they’ve embarked upon.”

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