The cataclysm of the academy has come and it’s here to haunt us. In her academic paper on rhetoric and competition, Linda Hutcheon intends to depict how competition has lost its original value and meaning by being distorted and transformed into a childish fight between scholars. According to Hutcheon, competition shouldn’t be about starting from square one and invalidating everyone’s discoveries and endeavors. It’s about finding the missing pieces of a hidden puzzle and creating a homogenous mass of knowledge.
Hutcheon begins by diving into the core meaning of the Greek word “agon” and how it has evolved through time. I think this is particularly interesting because it ultimately comes down to performance and what we, as humans, prioritize when it comes to presenting arguments and ideas. Instead of seeing is at as a performance, in which different protagonists add to the narrative and the rhetoric, we now see human interactions, and most importantly, academic interactions, as a place where we come to fight and show off. We prioritize ethos and pathos. Logos is undeniably involved when it comes to presenting arguments and trying to debunk others. However, it’s only used as a weapon of mass destruction.
Furthermore, Hutcheon goes on to take in capitalism and the private ownership of ideas as one of the determining factors of the decreasing quality of competition in society. Through time, competition has become a business model that benefits individuals, instead of adding to an overall amount of knowledge that represents humanity’s breakthroughs and hardships. This ultimately does have consequences on a larger scale, due to the fact that this problems extends to the academy itself. It not only affects scholars and their academic papers. It transcends borders and disciplines as much as it transcends gender.
In conclusion, Hutcheon’s critique to modern competition is a compilation of the toxic practices that damage and defeat the sole purpose of competition. The purpose of having a legacy of knowledge.
#p03 #competition #astu101