Philosophical Minds or Brotgelehrte?

Mats Alvesson, Katja Einola, Stephan Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)

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
Pages (from-to)1839-1852
Number of pages14
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume43
Issue number11
Early online date6 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors warmly thank Handelsbanken Research Foundations and Wallenberg Foundations for research funding.

Keywords

  • academia
  • empirical research
  • motives
  • organization studies
  • scholarship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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