William Deresiewicz & Jonathan Zimmerman: The Ivy-League Miseducation of the American Elite?

For those who give credence to Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social Distinction, William Deresiewicz’  Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite & the Way to a Meaningful Life – a rebuke of elite American families’ academic objectives – may not come as a big surprise: the premium elites place on accumulating “institutionalized cultural capital,” the likes of a diploma awarded by an Ivy-League university, naturally promotes their collective identity and distinguishes their “habits” from those of other social classes.  But theory aside, what happens in practice when elite American families earn Ivy-League diplomas but don’t take seriously the age-old liberal arts education that informed the civic-minded decisions of their forefathers and, instead of taking noblesse oblige to heart, are fixated on using their capital collections to improve their own private socioeconomic standing?  Novel pandemonium seems to be the result.  Come welcome William Deresiewicz and Jonathan Zimmerman, author of The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching, the pioneering study of the evolution of undergraduate education in the United States, to our show for an in-depth discussion about the relevance of real learning. 

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