[A] Wisconsin professor, Erik Olin Wright, a 61-year-old sociologist and a Marxist theorist, described it this way: “There has been some shift away from grand frameworks to more focused empirical questions.”Hey, weird! I'm sitting here reading this on my laptop at the Espresso Royale café.
As for his own approach, Mr. Wright said, “in the late ’60s and ’70s, the Marxist impulse was central for those interested in social justice.” Now it resides at the margins.
“I was part of a new wave of hires,” Sara Goldrick-Rab said, peering over the top of her laptop at her favorite off-campus work site, the Espresso Royale cafe. She came to the University of Wisconsin in 2004....
“My generation is not so ideologically driven,” she said....Oh, New York Times? Pajamasmedia.com is not a blog.
“Senior people evaluate us for tenure and the standards they use and what we think is important are different,” she said. They want to question values and norms; “we are more driven by data.”...
As for partisan politics, when she wrote an article in May for Pajamasmedia.com about welfare reform cutting off poor people’s access to higher education, some friends and co-workers were surprised by its appearance on that conservative blog. She said she didn’t know; she had not paid attention to its political bent.
When Ms. Goldrick-Rab speaks of added pressures on her generation, she talks about being pregnant or taking care of her 17-month-old while trying to earn tenure. The lack of paid leave for mothers is high on her list of complaints about university life.If you have paid leave for mothers (beyond a few weeks to recover from childbirth), you have to have paid leave for fathers or it is unconstitutional sex discrimination. Nevada v. Hibbs.
Anyway, bottom line: It's great that the younger generation is more interested in data and science and less interested in political action and ideology. I welcome their contribution — to the University of Wisconsin and to the world.