Blog 2, Due Sunday, Sept.27


After reading Mark Edmundson’s  “On the Uses of a Liberal Education: As Lite Entertainment For Bored College Students” (essay link is below),  consider his opinion on the commodification of the university with Liza Featherstone’s  views on colleges’ relationship with consumerism in “Student Activists Versus th Corporate University.”  You must find one quote from each text and type it into your comment and then explain the similarities between the two authors’ points. Give page no. for the quotes in an MLA parenthetical note. What similarities do Edmundson and Featherstone share in making arguments about universities as corporations? Your response must include the 2 quotes and a solid paragraph of analysis of the similarities. Using the tools from WA we have learned, look for patterns and strands of related ideas.

Edmundson essay: 

 (print this for class)

14 Responses to “Blog 2, Due Sunday, Sept.27”

  1. gallanttracy Says:

    Mark Edmindson states “Rather, it’s that university culture, like American culture writ large, is, to put it crudely, ever more devoted to comsumption and entertainment, to the using and using up of goods and images” (6).
    Liza Featherstone states that “I the meaning of these logos and deals–they signify that the institution is not run in the public interest, but to reap profits for the rich…” (412).
    The American student is being manipulated into consuming certain products specifically targeting universities. Emindson’s article talks about how students take pleasure in a class only if they are entertained. Featherstone’s article discusses how companies target universities so they can outsource to appeal to students such as having a Starbucks on campus. Strands of related ideas between the two quotes are that students are influenced too much by commercial goods wether it involves buying sneakers or learning important facts during a class such as Professor Edmundson. Patterns in the articles consist of both authors reaching there points concerning their arguments towards the end of the article. Edmundson tells a story in the beginning of his article and Featherstone gives facts about college students becoming anticorporatists. Each article is unique in its own way; however, they both come to the concluding factor that college students are persuaded by big-time corporations.

  2. jingoistic john Says:

    These two essays each question the growing trend of turning secondary education into marketed franchises. Featherstone suggests this when she says “Universities are run increasingly more like private firms, and have even more intimate relations with private industry.”{Page 407} Both authors agree that this industrialization is having a negative effect on the education is because the students are the ones being targeted by this economic trap. The industry’s pull on the kids in college is best summed up by Edminson when he says “Naturally, a cool youth culture is a marketing bonanza for producers of the right products, who do all they can to enlarge that culture and keep it grinding.”{Page 2} Each author goes on to show the repercussions of these acts by these companies as well as their dominance overseas. However these brand names are the appeal that Featherstone discusses is used to bring kids to the college and keep them content. The necessity of entertainment is also discussed by Edminson on a classroom scale. This ordinary view gives a good idea of the entertainment and abilities that college students strive for. The patterns of argument revolve around the pleasurable consumer services that are brought to college campuses. The other major theme is that the culprits of this consumer trap are using this tactic elsewhere on different and many times less fortunate people. The way these articles are different is the scale of the problem in that Featherstone discusses the issue on an international level while Edminson discusses it on a classroom level.

  3. dRaMaTiCdAniElLe Says:

    In each essay, there is the theme of universities becoming institutions that are marked for their appeal rather than what they offer intellectually. Mark Edminson believes that the targeting method changed after the introduction of the G. I. Bill and the baby boom era. Universities then needed to fill the once overflowing seats and now do so by their advertisements. He states that students are “playing the informed consumer, letting the provider know where he’s coming through and where he’s not quite as snuff (1).” Similar views are shared by Liza Featherstone who suggests that “universities are run increasingly like private firms, and have ever more intimate relations with private industry (407).” Both believe that students are the product of capitalism and have been subjected to living their lives in a capitalistic manner. Universities have increasingly relied on having a “name-brand” for itself and the corporations that are on the campus.

  4. Innovative Mark Says:

    In both Edmundson and Featherstone’s essays, each author critiques the consumerism aspect of college, and both authors come to the conclusion that the purpose of college has shifted from furthering education to advertizing and making a profit. For starters, Edmundson states, “ I am disturbed by the serene belief that my function—and more important, Freud’s, or Shakespeare’s, or Blake’s—is to divert, entertain, and interest” (pg.2). Featherstone is sending the same message when she starts of her essay by saying, “Just about every aspect of collegiate life can be leased for corporate profit these days” (pg. 407). College has sold itself out through big money corporations like Nike and Reebok, and in doing so, has traded in the educational purpose of college in for money. Edmundson, who is a respectable teacher, has now been downsized to the position of a circus clown because college has become entertainment for students rather than learning. In addition to the devaluing inside the classroom, universities have even changed their entire look and purpose on campus. At every college, there is some form of bookstore that is filled with a plethora of items that range from shirts to coffee mugs with the school’s name on it so that the school can turn a profit. Consumerism has taken over college, and this is the message that both Edmundson and Featherstone are trying to get across to the reader. Education has been put on a back burner at college because, in today’s society, what matters most is money.

  5. Billy the Brain Says:

    I really liked the points Edmundsun made. As I read his thoughts about the way students give and take from the college environment, I recall the way my fellow students and I have interacted with our respective universities and the processes that brought us to our schools. We, as students are almost forced by some hidden predisposition to fill a prefabricated mold which is the cool, calm, informed consumer (as Edmunson described). We attach ourselves to our colleges like leeches and take what we feel we should take and are satisfied. the college (professors and staff included) simply keeps supplying the same material. Its like the students are infants nursing on the bosom that is college education. Each student is offered that same academic content and little or nothing is given in return to the college. It is especially so in the calssroom. Essentially, a professor follows the lesson plan and year after year, the students are satisfied. This satisfaction and lack of constructive feedback from students is the problem with the complex relationship between student and university. We are drawn to universities by their various attractions like sports, clubs, academic ranking, student/teacher ratio, etc. only to find that the song remains the same. College provides. Student takes. Repeat. Is that really what college has come to?

  6. wil kamin Says:

    Mark Edmindson states “Rather, it’s that university culture, like American culture writ large, is, to put it crudely, ever more devoted to comsumption and entertainment, to the using and using up of goods and images” (6)
    Featherstone writes“Just about every aspect of collegiate life can be leased for corporate profit these days” (pg. 407).

    Both of these essays share similarities in the way that it seems that college is based on entertainment. The only way that kids consider a college is based on how much fun they have and if the classes are interesting. Students seem to be manipulated in the ideas they are given due to the fact that students only take in stuff they find interesting and fun not the real subject matter. Also in companies they go to colleges to find students to use so they can make money. It is compared to going to college because it has a Starbucks on campus. College left the idea of trying to educate young adults and gone to college is used to make money. It seems that universities are not teaching what is needed to be taught, but using the time in college to try and make money. Colleges have become contempt on making money and not educating the young adults who attend their university.

  7. Billy the Brain Says:

    uh oh… I realised i didnt fully complete the assignment. Round 2: After reading the Featherstone essay I began to realise what both authors were talking about. From Featherstone’s viewpoint, college is a vender of knowledge and experience and students are just consumers. It is important to know that both Edmundsun and Featherstone compare students to consumers. Featherstone said “universities often treat [students] as anonymous consumers”. Edmunsun stated about students that “there are few available alternatives to the cool consumer worldview” both authors point out that the university has become a business deal. University offers a deal which is their service. That service is university education and experience. We, as students, cant really influence what the university offers us, we just buy it.

  8. CaptainCole Says:

    Mark Edmindson states “Rather, it’s that university culture, like American culture writ large, is, to put it crudely, ever more devoted to consumption and entertainment, to the using and using up of goods and images” (1). Featherstone says “Universities are run increasingly like private firms, and have ever more intimate relations with private industry” (407).

    These essays are quite similar in how they talk about the way colleges are becoming more concerned with promoting theirselves to students by using big money brands and universities are becoming increasingly like small buisnesses that are only interested in making more money. They both try to emphasize how buisness such as borders and starbucks are becoming increasingly common on college campuses and that students are basing their college choices on how entertaining campus life may be instead of by how good of an academic institution it is. Also by putting brand names such as under armour, adidas, or nike on their clothes universities make themselves seem more hip and up to date. This is very evident in college sports where brands like nike go out and try to get every big program they can to put the swoosh on their uniforms because they hope that it will attract more attention to their products, and of course universites are happy to do so because of the big money they make for wearing their apparel.

  9. supersmartsam Says:

    In the Edmundson Essay, he states “Colleges don’t have admissions offices anymore, they have marketing departments” (3) which is closely to what Featherstone says in her essay “During one anti-sweat occupation, for exampl, student activists at the University of Oregon led a campus tour of sites that illustrated the institution’s numerous ties to corporations” (406)

    Both of the essays state how colleges have become more and more advertised, from TV to warm and cozy picture pamphlets. In this day in age, the colleges across America do more publicizing than ever before. The corporations and businesses that have ties with the University are used as perks to market the school, which sells to the teenage population. Colleges can convince students to attend their school with corporation perks, on top of the academic prestige it may have.

  10. jugdementaljack Says:

    In the two essays by Featherstone and Edmundson, they both discuss the influence of consumerism at universities nowadays. However the two authors wrote about how consumerism has infiltrated universities in different ways. For example in the Edmundson essay, he stated that when his students had to grade him as a professor at the end of the semester, most of the them had lots of comments just like they would if they were purchasing something. A quote that exemplifies that is “They’re [students] playing the informed consumer, letting the provider know where he’s come through and where he’s not quite up to snuff” (1). The students maintain the same expectation of a consumer in all aspects of there life and it is leading to a lifestyle involves too much consumerism. In Liza Featherstone essay she explains that college is basically a firm that sells the university to students. To attract students, colleges advertise companies such as Nike and Starbucks. She states in the middle of her essay that “Many [colleges] highlight the university’s role as an investor in the global economy-those pushing to make their school’s portfolios more socially responsible” (408). Everything about college is revolved around an image that is desirable and by advertising companies they can achieve that. Both of these essays deal with the negative influence that companies have on colleges and students and the author’s goal to raise awareness for this growing problem.

  11. Slanderous Shawn Says:

    Edminson said, “Rather, its that university culture, like American culture writ large, is, to put it crudely, ever more devoted to consumption and entertainment, to the using and using up of goods and images” (1)
    Featherstone was quoted to say, “Just about every aspect of collegiate life can be leased for corporate profit these days” (407)

    Both Featherstone and Edminson are in agreement that universities are becoming more and more consumeristic. The authors wrote about the growing wastefullness of the universities. They also discssed the idea that universities are growing into small private industries. They use brand names to promote their school. The universities are trying to attract more and more students, and they see apparel as a way of succeeding at this. Both the pieces are centered around the idea that the universities are becoming commercialized and consumerist out of a need to attract bigger numbers. Both discuss the ideas of the changing world, and as the world changes, it is necessary for the universities to adapt to their new conomy and society.

  12. modestmegan Says:

    Both Featherstone and Edmundson are critiquing both the American collegiate system, as well as the consumerism culture as a whole. No longer do universities care about the academic achievement their students receive, instead they are more focused on making money and the business aspect of education. This is especially illustrated in Featherstone’s essay when she writes, “Universities are run increasingly like private firms, and have ever more intimate relations with private industry” (407). Featherstone is explaining about how little the colleges care for their students in today’s society compared to their heavily involved and enormously important relationships with corporate America. It is obvious Edmundson agrees with this when he says, “Rather, it’s that university culture, like American culture writ large, is, to put it crudely, ever more devoted to consumption and entertainment, to the using and using up of goods and images” (1). Although both authors are criticizing America’s vast dependence on a capitalistic society, they view the students’ of the Universities that are being overrun very differently. Edmundson believes that the students can be to blame to falling into the behavior while Featherstone focuses on the students who are fighting the companies.

  13. RoMaNtIcRoN Says:

    These essays similarly discuss college’s that promote their selves as business rather than learning institution. “Just about every aspect of collegiate life can be leased for corporate profit these days” (Featherstone 407). These universities seem to be looking for profit instead of finding the students that really want to learn. To attract these students they furnish their institutions with upgraded facilities that the wealthy students are accustomed to. “To put it a little indecorously, the place is looking more and more like a retirement spread for the young” (Edmundson 3). In a time when the economy is struggling financially and the world seems to be running on the motive of money; why would anyone expect anything less out of these schools. These accusations maybe true of a lot of schools, however there are many schools that supply a lot of aid to its student and have programs in place to locate over achieving students that are less fortunate financially.

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