analytically productive in its refusal to understand disputes and controversies as natural effects of the occurrences out of which they are built, demonstrating instead the importance of drama, performance, ritual, symbolism and notions of the sacred to understanding how 'events become culturally constructed as such pg. 6 symbolic conflicts, wherever they occur, should not be considered bounded events since they are never entirely complete or conclusive. Instead, because struggles over the reorganization of shared symbolic life are ongoing, they are perhaps better understood as politics temporarily frozen in time.
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This book examines an intramural conflict that erupted within the English Faculty at the University of Cambridge in the early 1980s in order to develop a theoretical analysis of disputes as they unfold within the academy. The book shows how broad structural changes taking place within the English higher education system at the time reverberated through to local contexts, and investigates the reception of theories originating in other countries and other disciplines upon English Studies in the UK, as well as demonstrating the significance of local institutional factors in structuring the form and content of the dispute. Its analysis captures a key moment in the development of modern English Studies and reveals the social performance lying at the heart of public controversy. The case study is used to develop a new theory for analysing the workings and tribulations of intellectual life. An innovative contribution to cultural sociology and the sociology of intellectuals, Morgan and Baert provide a multi-dimensional account of academic conflict through a mixture of institutional, cultural, and dramaturgical analysis.… (more)