Philosophical minds or Brotgelehrte?

Mats Alvesson*, Katja Einola, Stephan Schaefer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In this essay, we discuss basic orientations and ways of being among us, the academics, especially in the context of research. Using German poet, scholar and author Friedrich Schiller’s distinction between ‘der philosophische Kopf’ (‘philosophical mind’) and ‘Brotgelehrte’ (‘bread-fed scholar’), we contrast ideal-typical figures in academia. We find these forgotten 18th century characters inspirational to help us understand some troublesome contemporary developments of academics and academia and to remind us of the perhaps perennial nature of the ongoing controversies and debates. We further develop and nuance these figures and bring them to the 21st century. Like Schiller in his time, we want to highlight the importance of each of us in shaping what academia is and what it becomes. The contrast may help us think through who we are, what is driving us in our work, and how we can (re)construct ourselves in the light of dominant normalizations and templates for being in contemporary academia.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalOrganization Studies
Number of pages14
ISSN0170-8406
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 06.01.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • organization studies
  • academia
  • empirical research
  • motives
  • academics
  • scholarship

Sustainable Development Goals

  • GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising

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