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Disciplined Minds : A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Lives - Jeff Schmidt

Disciplined Minds

A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Lives


Published: 4th December 2001
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"This book is stolen. Written in part on stolen time, that is. Because like millions of others who work for a living, I was giving most of my prime time to my employer..." So begins Jeff Schmidt in this riveting book about the world of professional work. Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to maintain strict "ideological discipline." The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional's lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations, and even democracy. Schmidt details the battle one must fight to be an independent thinker, showing how an honest reassessment of what it means to be a professional in today's corporate society can be remarkably liberating. After reading this book, no one who works for a living will ever think the same way about his or her job.

Disciplined Minds is a witty, incisive, original analysis of the politics of professionalism-especially with respect to those fields in which 'professional training' involves an education in how to become oblivious to the political role of one's profession. -- Michael Berube, University of Illinois A blistering critique of how knowledge workers have been subordinated in America. Finally, a book that tells it like it is. -- Stanley Aronowitz, CUNY Graduate Center, author of From the Ashes of the Old: American Labor and America's Future I have been waiting a long time for someone to write this book, and Jeff Schmidt has done it. He exposes, in crystal-clear prose, the inevitably political nature of the professional in our society, and, most importantly, suggests a strategy for resistance. This is an extraordinary and valuable piece of writing. -- Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States and professor emeritus of Political Science, Boston University Schmidt has hit the bull's-eye. Texas Observer Schmidt analyzes the true meaning of being a professional and the sacrifices that professionals make to achieve their career goals. He challenges them to think outside the box, use their intuition and their attitude to provide for a better society. -- Carrie Crystal Van Driel In The Public Citizen There is much that is thought provoking and illuminating in Disciplined Minds. Business & Society This book should be read by anyone thinking about embarking on a professional education in any field, as well as by those who wonder why their dream job doesn't seem so dreamy after all. -- Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C. Disciplined Minds is a radical, disturbing, and provocative look at professional life. It offers a profound analysis of the personal struggles for identity and meaning in the lives of today's 21 million professionals. The book will shake up the readers. Education Review Just after publication of this book Disciplined Minds, Jeff Schmidt was fired after 19 years as a staff writer for Physics Today magazine. In his book Schmidt argues that a hierarchical organization's structure almost guarantees that its workers cannot devote their full energy to the job; he was terminated after a supervisor learned that in his foreword to the book, he playfully wrote that he had completed it partly on 'stolen time'. The Washington Post Schmidt is a very good writer, and particularly skilled at constructing his case through example and anecdote. His thesis is compelling. Interchange In this book Jeff Schmidt gives us a remarkably insightful political analysis of the process of inculcating graduate school initiates into a discipline, and how this process of 'disciplining' contributes to the making and perpetuating of unfree minds in the professions. Social Anarchism Thirty-One Schmidt offers a provocative critique of how scientists, engineers, and other professionals are groomed to fulfill a specific function in society-that of maintaining the status quo-and, in the process, end up sidelining their own goals and ideals. The book is both well-researched and highly readable. Some readers may disagree with its conclusions, but everyone will recognize its descriptions of the often wrenching choices that today's professionals must make. Ieee Spectrum I found Disciplined Minds while planning a course that will deal with the social role and moral responsibility of intellectuals, and after I finished reading it I whooped with joy. It is the perfect book to engage students on these issues - well researched, powerfully argued, and clearly written. Even conservative students with politics at odds with Schmidt's find the book valuable because of its (sometimes painful) honesty and clarity. In addition to using it in my course, I wish I could make Disciplined Minds required reading for my faculty colleagues. -- Robert Jensen, Director of the Senior Fellows Honors Program of the College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin This book comes from the heart...a rallying cry to dissatisfied professionals and disillusioned students to organize and reshape the system that is stifling them. Review of Radical Political Economics Disciplined Minds is a freewheeling, thought-provoking examination of the way ideological control is exercised over an increasingly important section of the working class- the professionals. -- John Pappademos Nature, Society, and Thought

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Timid Professionalsp. 9
Trusted Cadre
Hidden Curriculum
Ideological Disciplinep. 30
The Politics of Not Getting Political
The Expert's Opinion
When Does a Job Demand a Professional?
Working Between the Lines
Insiders, Guests and Crashersp. 46
Jurors: Professionals for a Week
Inadvertent Satirists
"Real World" Credentials
Assignable Curiosityp. 56
Directing the Professor's Curiosity
A Government Agency Is a Government Agency
The Social Significance Concealment Gamep. 71
Condensed Matter Physics
Plasma Physics
It Takes a Professional
The Division of Laborp. 86
Weakening the Individual
Opportunityp. 97
Dreams of Escape
Opportunity to Escape
A Life-and-Death Matter
Ugly Scene at the Narrow Gate
A Strategy for Understanding
Selection as a Political Process
The Instrument of Selection
Narrowing the Political Spectrump. 119
Before the Narrowing
Metamorphosis and Unnatural Selection
The Primacy of Attitudep. 148
The Convergence of Prejudgment and Score
Examining the Examinationp. 161
Imposing a Social Framework
Turning Tricks
Time Pressure and Problem Fragments
Boredom and Endurance
Technical Details, Naked Formulas and "Usefulness"
The Elitist's Advantage
Gratuitous Biasp. 180
Bias--Necessary and Unnecessary, Hidden and Superficial
Freudian Slips
"Neutral" Voicesp. 193
Subordinationp. 203
Conflicts with Employers
Resisting Indoctrinationp. 217
Brainwashing and Resistance
How to Survive Professional Training with Your Values Intactp. 239
Prisoner of War Resistance
Confrontation or Obliteration
My Own Case
Individual Violence
Now or Neverp. 265
Indexp. 281
About the Authorp. 294
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780742516854
ISBN-10: 0742516857
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 4th December 2001
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.39