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Hanging TogetherUnity and Diversity in American Culture$
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John Higham and Carl Guarneri

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088182

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088182.001.0001

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Specialization in a Democracy [1979]

Specialization in a Democracy [1979]

(p.67) 4 Specialization in a Democracy [1979]
Hanging Together

John Higham

Yale University Press

In the nineteenth century, specialization led creators and custodians of knowledge to turn their particular competences into professions. The new professions became possible due to the multiplication and differentiation of bodies of esoteric knowledge. In the early part of the century, specialization went against the grain of American culture. But in the last third of the century, resistance to specialization disappeared. Specialization arose due to dissatisfaction with the status of science and scholarship in America. Upholders of education and respectability, outraged by the corruption and materialism spawned by democracy, mounted a counteroffensive in the late nineteenth century to recover some of the authority they had lost in preceding decades. This chapter examines the American institutions called forth by specialization, focusing on a strengthened Ph.D. degree, the departmentalization of universities, the funding of research by agencies with non-research purposes, and the development of reference tools that opened the latest specialties to outsiders.

Keywords:   specialization, knowledge, professions, scholarship, education, democracy, Ph.D. degree, universities, research, reference tools

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