Proceedings Journal Article — The Global Public Intellectual, Academic Professions and the Intellectual Hero: Reflections on Edward Said — by Neil McLaughlin

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The death of Edward Said represents a defining “moment” in history that allows us to think analytically and politically about the emergence of global public intellectuals. After outlining an overview of various theories of the “public intellectual” in the context of a new global environment, this essay discusses the response to the death of Said among academics, journalists and public intellectuals.

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Abstract

The death of Edward Said represents a defining “moment” in history that allows us to think analytically and politically about the emergence of global public intellectuals. After outlining an overview of various theories of the “public intellectual” in the context of a new global environment, this essay discusses the response to the death of Said among academics, journalists and public intellectuals. Said, it is clear, refused to bow to academic or political orthodoxies, the temptation of power or the vagaries of intellectual fashion. Said was not quite as amateur, however, as his own theory of the intellectual suggests. This point is illustrated by a comparison of Said to the great French sociologist Bourdieu, another prominent global public intellectual. Said was a global intellectual hero who emerged from inside the professional American university system in ways that exhibited genuine political courage and created space for intellectuals and movement activists without his fame and scholarly status.

McLaughlin, Neil. 2005. “The Global Public Intellectual, Academic Professions and the Intellectual Hero: Reflections on Edward Said.” Pp. 161-174 in Theories and Praxes of Difference: Revisiting Edward Said in the Age of New Globalizations: Proceedings of the Second Annual Social Theory Forum, April 6-7, 2005 (Discourse of Sociological Practice, Vol. 7, Issues 1&2, Fall/Spring 2005). Double-Issue Guest Editor: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. Sociology Department, UMass Boston.


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