Dorothea continues documenting her ambivalent relationship with academia by pointing to an essay on academic alienation by a marxist ex-academic, who urges the abandonment of ambivalence for commitment.
I can see that may sound less than enticing, but it may help explain a widely noted phenomenon:
[...] this is not another story about how Berkeley is better than Knoxville.� Most of the ways it is (and of course it is) are obvious, and the last thing the� people reading this essay need is the sense of this superiority reinforced, as though the very real struggles of the UT students who I fell in love with year after year are somehow less significant because Knoxville has fewer cultural and political resources than Berkeley.� Rather, this is the story of the forms of disengagement that structure academic departments in general.� Certainly at the top of the profession, in places like Berkeley, scholars are far more likely than at UT to be engaged in national conversations. Yet at every level of the academic institution, a variety of individuals find that the best or easiest way to keep themselves going is by staying out of the way of department life.� At prestigious schools, where people actually have the money to do so, this results in the incessant flying around the world making connections, and the consequent political overvaluation of the so-called global over working in local institutions.� This itself is a form of disengagement.� At the University of Tennessee -- which is nowhere near the "bottom" as these things are assessed -- most faculty members are involved in neither national or local conversations, and as a result become altogether disengaged.
[...] I went from being a participant in specific, local, political movements to being� "global," or at least travelling all the time.� Because there weren't enough people in Knoxville who shared my interests.� [...]� Some academics build genuinely useful networks; others simply avoid responsibility for what needs to be done where they are.