The Liberal Arts Paradox in Higher Education

Negotiating Inclusion and Prestige

By Kathryn Telling

Published

Apr 1, 2023

Page count

176 pages

ISBN

978-1447359470

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Apr 1, 2023

Page count

176 pages

ISBN

978-1447359487

Dimensions

Imprint

Policy Press

The liberal arts approach to higher education is a growing trend globally. We are told that the mental dexterity and independent, questioning spirit cultivated by such interdisciplinary degrees are the best preparation for the as-yet unknown executive jobs of tomorrow.

This book explores the significant recent growth of these degrees in England, in order to address an enduring problem for higher education: the relationship between meritocracy and elitism.

Against the view that the former is a myth providing rhetorical cover for the latter, it argues that these are two entangled, but discrete, value systems. Sociology must now pay attention to how students and academics attempt to disentangle them.

Kathryn Telling is a Lecturer in Education at University of Manchester.

Introduction

Trailblazing Traditionalists: Imagining the Liberal Arts in Time and Space

Discipline and its Discontents: Multi, Inter or Transdisciplinarity?

Distinctly Indistinct: Generic Skills and the Unique Student

Jobs for the Generalist: Non-Vocational Degrees and Employability

Identity and the ‘Ideal’ Student: Citizens, Cosmopolitans, Consumers?

Meritocracy and Mass Higher Education: Character, Ease and Educational Intimacy

Conclusion