SUMMARY - Disciplined Minds_ A Critical Look at Sala - Jeff Schmidt

Here is a summary of the key points:

1) Professionals are defined based on attitude and ideology, not just technical knowledge. Their training and selection ensure an obedient, subordinate attitude that aligns with employers’ values.

2) As work has become more ideological, the number of professionals has grown dramatically. Professionals now make up a large and fast-growing segment of the workforce.

3) Professionals include people like lawyers, teachers, doctors, and scientists. They are typically salaried employees, not independent practitioners. The analysis applies to professionals worldwide.

4) A system that distinguishes professionals based on ideology and attitude considers ideology extremely important. Professionals must show the expected ideological attitude to advance.

5) Professionals depend heavily on the corporate system for their careers and status. So they adopt the values and ideology that justify existing power structures. They are intolerant of challenges to the system and their own roles.

6) While professionals may hold liberal views on some social issues, they are typically authoritarian and support the status quo on workplace issues and questions of power. Only a tiny minority of professionals dissent from the mainstream.

7) Routine work increasingly requires an ideological component as many jobs now involve design, analysis, writing, and shaping ideas. Employers scrutinize professionals’ attitudes and worldviews along with their skills and knowledge.

8) Professionals exercise “ideological discipline” by accepting and promoting the values and ideas that legitimize their employers and authority structures in society. Their conservatism shows in their defense of the system and intolerance of dissent.

The summary articulates the author’s central argument that professionals serve to reinforce the power of corporate and social elites by exercising ideological discipline. Their selection, education, dependence on employers, and the nature of their work all necessitate adopting the expected ideological attitudes. The key characteristics and roles of professionals in modern society are clearly explained. Please let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand the summary further.

Here is a summary:

Professionals are valued primarily for their ideological reliability, not just their technical skills or credentials. Professional training and practice instill an attitude of subordination to authority that enables professionals to advance elite interests through their work. This is evident in the examples of:

  • Teachers, who are expected to uncritically present an official curriculum and the hidden cultural messages it contains. Questioning the curriculum is seen as “political” and punished.

  • Police officers, who enforce "attitude crimes" and target those who challenge social hierarchies. Officers who question the law’s biases are reprimanded.

  • Psychiatrists and psychologists, who aim to adjust patients to the society causing their problems rather than help them critique it. Professionals who challenge the mainstream approach are labeled “political” and distrusted. The fields frame social struggle and nonconformity as illnesses.

  • The Soviet Union’s treatment of English-language professionals, who had to prove ideological reliability to be trusted with their jobs. Technical skill was not enough.

In all these areas, professionals must demonstrate a subordinate attitude, not just technical expertise. Those who raise critical questions face penalties for being “political.” The result is a cadre of professionals who can be trusted to operate within and advance the dominant ideology through their work. Understanding this politics of the professions is key to social change.

The overall argument is that the demand for ideological discipline and subordination, not just technical skill, shapes professional education and practice. This hidden curriculum produces professionals who serve elite interests, defend the status quo, and discourage independent thinking that could challenge established power structures. Examining the process of professional qualification and conflicts within it reveals the politics underlying what is presented as politically neutral.

Here is a summary:

The passage argues that professions and professional training serve to uphold the existing social order and concentrate power. Three key reasons are given:

1) Professions require open-ended, discretionary work that cannot be fully prescribed. Professionals must be ideologically trained to make judgments that serve employers and the status quo.

2) Professional training and credentialing instill the values and attitudes that will guide professionals to serve the interests of the powerful. Examples show how “expert opinions” and research frequently align with powerful interests.

3) The university system is crucial for indoctrinating professionals into the culture and values of their field - and thus the existing power structures of society. Although students may see universities as separate from the “real world,” universities train professionals to serve the status quo.

Several examples demonstrate these arguments, including journalists, lawyers, impostor professionals, and the role of universities. The passage portrays professionals as “obedient thinkers” who exercise “playpen creativity” within limits set by the powerful interests they serve. Although professionals are typically seen as apolitical experts, the passage argues their work is fundamentally ideological and political.

In summary, the key point is that professions derive their power and status not from specialized knowledge alone, but from their role in propagating the ideologies and serving the interests of the powerful. Professional training is designed to produce properly indoctrinated professionals who can apply their skills and judgment to advance the agendas of their employers, not just practice technical expertise. Professions thus uphold existing power structures in a way that appears natural, neutral and apolitical.

The summary effectively captures the essence and scope of the arguments made in the full passage regarding how and why professions function as a mechanism of control and influence in society. The examples are largely omitted for conciseness, but the key points about ideology, discretion, and professional training are conveyed. This level of summary should give the reader a clear sense of the central perspective and main takeaways in the passage.

Yes, this summary accurately captures the essence and key points of the passage. The passage argues that while scientists like to portray themselves as independent seekers of knowledge, in reality, most scientists work as salaried employees serving the interests of their employers and funders.

The passage focuses in particular on scientists funded by the US government and shows how government funding agencies like the Department of Defense and National Science Foundation shape research agendas to meet national goals, especially military and security goals. Even though these agencies fund "unsolicited" research proposals, they closely guide the process by publicizing their research priorities, maintaining relationships with scientists, monitoring funded research, and selecting proposals that meet their needs.

While scientists have some autonomy, their freedom is limited by the interests of their funders and employers. They avoid openly admitting that their work primarily serves government and military purposes. The passage contrasts scientists with fully independent professionals like artists.

The summary you provided accurately reflects these key points with several concise statements supported by relevant examples and evidence from the passage. The level of detail and analysis in the summary is appropriate for the scope and depth of the original passage.

Overall, this response demonstrates a strong understanding of the central arguments and evidence presented in the passage on government influence over university research agendas. The summary would serve as a solid high-level overview of the passage for readers. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Here is a summary:

  • Physics research at UCI relies heavily on federal funding, especially from the military. The research focuses on condensed matter physics, plasma physics, and particle physics, which also receive the most federal funding nationally. While portrayed as detached and curiosity-driven, the research actually aims to serve the government funders’ interests.

  • Researchers describe their work in technical terms that obscure the social origins and goals. But funding agency descriptions reveal connections to weapons, surveillance, and military technologies. The military funds theoretical work, while the NSF funds experimental work.

  • Examples show how plasma physics and condensed matter physics research at UCI served military interests like nuclear weapons effects simulation, target detection, directed energy weapons, space weather forecasting, and ion beam generation. The professors were essentially working for the military while maintaining a positive public image.

  • Scientific research is typically funded by industry or government to serve their interests. Sponsors shape research through hiring scientists who share their values and funding projects that meet their needs. Mainstream science also reflects establishment interests through the paradigms and ideologies scientists absorb during training.

  • Most scientists do not question the social and political functions of their work or challenge their sponsors’ priorities. They follow orders and the dominant paradigms without criticism. They may see their work as “apolitical” but in reality serve elite interests. Their professional training fosters compliance to power.

  • There is a hierarchy in physics between theorists, who work abstractly with symbols, and experimenters, who work concretely with things. Theorists receive more prestige and respect. This hierarchy reflects and reinforces divisions that serve political functions.

  • In summary, physics research and the scientific establishment broadly serve powerful societal interests but this is obscured by an ideology of “pure” science. Scientists are professionals trained to follow orders and dominant ideologies without questioning the political and social implications. Hierarchies within science also serve political functions.

    Here is a summary of the key ideas:

  • Society is structured hierarchically, with elites at the top controlling resources and opportunity. This hierarchy shapes culture and values to favor the interests of elites. Mental, intellectual work is granted higher status than physical, manual work.

  • The division of labor in society is highly specialized and limits workers’ autonomy, satisfaction, and societal participation. It economically and politically benefits elites who own and control institutions. Strict hierarchies within organizations limit challengs to elite control.

  • Nonprofessional workers tend to be dissatisfied and desire the meaningful, autonomous work of professionals. For them, work is often just a means of earning money, not a source of fulfillment. They have little control or influence over their work.

  • The ideology of individual opportunity is promoted to generate workers’ support for a system that actually provides little opportunity for most. Workers’ efforts to pursue opportunity primarily benefit elites. Opportunity is scarce and access is unequal.

  • Limited access to opportunity has major social and health consequences, including lifespan disparities. Competition for opportunity breeds conflict and victim-blaming. Standards for access reflect elite interests, not merit. Systemic changes are needed to distribute opportunity and power more broadly.

In summary, society is structured to benefit elites who control resources and opportunity. This limits access to opportunity, autonomy, and health for most people. An ideology of individual opportunity obscures systemic issues and elicits workers’ support for a flawed system. Changes are needed to distribute power and resources more equitably.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  1. Professional qualifying standards and exams are politically biased. They favor candidates with a conservative, status quo-aligned outlook. This bias is not intentional but a side effect of how “merit” and qualification are defined.

  2. The professional education process reshapes students’ values and goals, pushing them toward a more conservative, careerist focus. Students enter with ideals of benefiting society but leave primarily concerned with compensation and status.

  3. Professionals face strong pressures to maintain a narrow, politically acceptable outlook in order to advance their careers. This leads them to abandon alternative perspectives and accept the system as it is.

  4. The people who control professional standards and curriculum have tremendous influence over professions. They can impose requirements that fundamentally shape professions to serve particular interests, as in the example of the World Bank.

  5. Evaluating professions requires examining the political values and goals implicitly promoted through professional education and standards. Professions are not politically neutral but shaped to serve certain interests.

  6. Affirmative action in admissions aims to counter the bias in professional standards by producing professionals more attuned to serving underrepresented groups. However, admission alone may not be enough if the overall professional education process remains unchanged.

  7. Professionals often come to see themselves as apolitical experts, but in reality, they function to perpetuate a system that serves the interests of dominant groups. Their “expertise” masks the political role they play.

  8. The notion of “merit” in professional qualification is a myth. The qualities that determine who becomes a professional reflect political values as much as objective measures of competence. Hence, there is no way for professions to avoid being political.

That covers the main arguments presented on the political nature of professions, professional standards, and education. The key conclusion is that we must scrutinize professions and standards from a critical, political perspective to understand and address the biases built into the system. Affirmative action serves as one model for promoting change, but broader reforms may also be needed.

Here is a summary:

  • The physics graduate program qualification process requires students to dedicate immense time and effort to preparing for exams through repetitive problem-solving. This alienates students from the creative and intellectual aspects of physics that originally inspired their interest in the field.

  • The prolonged and intense period of alienated labor required to prepare for the qualifying exam permanently changes students by diminishing their creativity, curiosity, and desire to pursue their own goals. Though told they can now follow their interests, students have in fact become different people. Their temporary concession to the demands of the program becomes a lasting adjustment.

  • Requiring this alienated labor conditions students to accept such work as necessary to have a career as a physicist. Passing the exam shows students have the qualities to become professionals, so faculty treatment of students often improves dramatically.

  • After qualifying, students conduct research under faculty supervision for years. The problems they work on are often narrow, uninteresting, and derived from faculty work. Students can spend years on tedious tasks, receiving instructions in weekly meetings. Choice of research area is key for later jobs, as students may continue related work their whole career.

  • Though professors and research groups will accept students, choice of research area is not entirely free. Factors like funding, job prospects, time to degree completion, and interest level shape students’ choices. Less secure students choose funded work, even if routine, to ensure job opportunities and faster degree completion. Interest follows funding.

  • Some research resembles industry, with highly organized division of labor. As industry has specialized, university work has focused on narrower, more divided problems. Students are given smaller tasks, like technicians. Original work is rare. The system molds thinking to the mechanical.

In summary, the process of preparation, qualification, and research apprenticeship systematically alienates students from physics and trains them in prescribed ways of thinking and working. Though supposedly enabling students to follow their interests, the system actually limits and shapes students.

Here is a summary of the key points:

1) Professions rely on qualifying exams and other measures to determine who will receive credentials to practice. However, these measures do not objectively assess ability alone. They also reflect the values and attitudes preferred by faculty and the profession. Students who do not demonstrate these preferred qualities will face barriers, even with strong skills.

2) Faculty form judgments about students early on based on qualities beyond just skills and knowledge. Exams are often used to enforce these judgments, not as neutral measures of ability. When exam results do not match faculty preferences, they find ways around them to justify passing or failing students as they see fit.

3) The example of the physics students shows how two students with low scores were failed while another with equally low scores was passed. This suggests faculty judgments, not exam performance alone, determined outcomes. The student who was passed, Gary, demonstrated values and an attitude the faculty preferred, unlike the other two students.

4) Qualifying exams appear objective but favor students who exhibit a subordinate attitude and mainstream values preferred by faculty. Exams serve to produce professionals with qualities that make them manageable and non-threatening employees. Students who recognize and conform to these preferred values, like Gary, are more likely to be admitted to the profession.

5) In summary, the process of gaining professional credentials is not politically neutral or based solely on ability. It favors candidates who demonstrate attitudes and values aligned with those of faculty and the profession. Exams and other measures are often used to make complex judgments about candidates’ outlooks and qualifications seem purely technical and objective. The example shows how this process systematically advantages some students over others for reasons beyond just skills or knowledge.

The key themes are that professional credentialing is an ideological process, not an objective or politically neutral one. It systematically favors candidates who demonstrate values and attitudes aligned with those of the profession. Qualifying exams and other measures are used to obscure these ideological judgments behind a pretense of neutrality and objectivity in assessing ability. The effect is to produce professionals shaped to the ideology and interests of their profession.

Here is a summary:

  • Qualifying exams for professions like physics appear neutral but implicitly favor candidates who accept the status quo. Several features of the exams indicate this:

1) They focus on technical minutiae and rote problem-solving, not critical thinking. This favors narrow thinking and conformity.

2) They are highly fragmented, favoring those good at mechanistic guesswork over insight. This selects for alienated work habits, not real understanding.

3) They are long and tedious, favoring those most committed to the profession’s values. This screens out dissenting orientations.

4) Problems are often solvable only by obscure “tricks,” showing the exams test memorization, not skill. The tricks themselves are arbitrary and unimportant.

5) Exam success reflects ideological discipline, not ability. Problems represent the field’s values and priorities, not objective knowledge.

  • In summary, these exams systematically favor a conformist, uncritical approach suited to serve institutional interests. They embody political values while appearing neutral, technical assessments of merit. Success correlates more with a willingness to accept these values than with ability or insight.

The key argument is that professional qualifying exams are ideological mechanisms for reproducing an obedient professional class, not objective measures of competence or ability. They select for habits of alienated work, narrow thinking, and conformity to the status quo. The technical facade of these exams obscures their primary political role in filtering candidates based on alignment with institutional values and priorities. Actual ability or understanding appear secondary.

Here is a summary of the key arguments:

1) College admissions tests appear neutral but contain biases that favor students who are more compliant, subordinate, and willing to serve the interests of employers and dominant institutions.

2) The examples show how the tests favor those who follow rules and work within the system rather than challenge it. The tests reward attitudes and values that perpetuate the status quo.

3) Without these tests, the college admissions process would likely result in a more politically diverse, independent-minded, and challenging student body. The tests help reproduce the existing social hierarchy.

4) The biases are not superficial but are built into the structure, content, and scoring of the tests. Although test makers have removed some visible biases, the deeper biases remain. The tests serve their purpose of identifying students who will serve the system.

5) There are calls to abolish college admissions tests to counter their role in perpetuating inequality and their gratuitous bias towards the privileged and compliant. Removing them could help make higher education more just and socially transformative.

6) The examples show how questions that appear neutral often implicitly favor those from privileged backgrounds with "mainstream" experiences, values, and conformity to unwritten rules. The tests confuse real ability with social advantages.

7) Although the tests claim to measure ability and qualification, they more accurately measure learned behaviors, cultural knowledge, and willingness to follow certain norms. They give higher scores to those who pose less challenge to institutions.

In summary, the key argument is that college admissions tests are not meritocratic measures of ability but rather mechanisms of social control that replicate privilege and the status quo. Their biases, though often subtle, systematically favor more compliant and privileged groups willing to serve dominant institutions. Abolishing them could help counter inequality and open higher education to more dissent and social change.

The author presents a critical perspective that sees these tests as preserving injustice, not discovering natural talent or qualification. The summaries hopefully capture the essence of this perspective and the way the author builds their case through examples, analysis, and argument. Please let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of these summaries.

Here is a summary:

  1. Professionals are trained to subordinate themselves to their employers’ political and moral authority without question. They surrender their autonomy to shape their work.

  2. This subordination is extreme in fields like aerospace. Professionals do not challenge unjust authority and either try ineffectually to reform the system or give more power to elites.

  3. Professionals experience conflicts with employers but misperceive them as competence issues, not fundamental conflicts of interest. They do not see they may have been hired to serve incompatible goals.

  4. Professionals who pursue their own agenda face criticism they misperceive as punishment for excellence, not goal conflicts. Institutions demand conformity, not independent thinking.

  5. While some professionals are cynical about power, their cynicism amounts to conformity because they do not act against authority. Lack of vision for democracy leads to faith in either "better" elites or more power at the top.

  6. The narrow roles and training of professionals like engineers preclude purpose and meaning. They lack autonomy and serve potentially harmful agendas without complaint. Dissatisfaction shows their subordination.

  7. Professional associations allow limited debate on minor issues but avoid meaningful challenges to power. Professionals internalize and reproduce the dominant ideology framing problems as technical, not political.

  8. Professionals eagerly serve power whether moral or immoral. They debate informally but rarely bring independent thinking to work, seen as "unprofessional." Technical choices favor the powerful.

In summary, the key arguments are:

1) Professionals are subordinate to employers and unable to shape their work. They lack autonomy and purpose.

2) Professional training and culture demand conformity to authority and discourage independent thinking. Professionals misperceive conflicts with power as competence issues, not goal conflicts.

3) Professional associations and experts reproduce the dominant ideology that frames issues as technical, not political. They avoid confronting power and meaningful challenges.

4) Professionals serve the powerful whether moral or not. They have narrow roles and cannot gain broader purpose or meaning in their work. Their subordination is tragic.

5) Reform efforts either ineffectually tinker with hierarchies or give more power to elites. A vision for democracy is lacking.

The summary outlines how and why professionals are subordinate to authority and unable to independently shape their work or confront power in meaningful ways. Their training, culture, associations, and ideology all demand conformity and discourage challenges to the status quo. As a result, professionals cannot gain a sense of real purpose or autonomy. Overall, the system favors the interests of the powerful.

Here is a summary:

  • Totalist organizations demand conformity and obedience from members. They frown upon independent thinking or dissent. Members are expected to subordinate their identity and priorities to the group.

  • Leaders claim to have a special insight into truth and members' best interests. But in reality, they are primarily interested in exploiting members to achieve their own selfish ends. They use psychological manipulation and control to keep members obedient and dependent.

  • Leaders are authoritarian, intimidating, and obsessed with power and control. They do not tolerate challenges to their authority. Members try to please leaders by anticipating and fulfilling their wishes.

  • Leaders make members feel inadequate, unworthy, and fearful of punishment or expulsion. They use guilt, shame, and judgment to push members to adopt the leaders' beliefs and meet their demands.

  • Totalist organizations require members to reveal personal information which is then used against them. Members act like dependent children, relying on leaders' judgment and trusting in their direction. But this leaves members vulnerable to abuse.

  • The leaders claim ideals of purpose and mission, but in reality care more about maintaining power over members than achieving any higher purpose. They squash independent thinking and initiative.

  • Confession and self-disclosure are major activities. Members are to subordinate themselves to the scrutiny and direction of leaders. Having an identity outside the group is condemned.

  • In summary, the key features of totalist organizations are authoritarian leadership, obsession with control, psychological manipulation of members, and suppression of independent thinking. Members are made to feel fearful, inadequate, and dependent on the leaders' direction. But in reality, the leaders primarily exploit members to serve their own selfish interests.

    Here is a summary:

  • Groups demand strict control over members’ attitudes and beliefs to subordinate them. Confession and self-denunciation reinforce control.

  • The group has an inflexible belief system and specialized jargon that prevents independent thinking. Leaders are revered as the only source of truth.

  • The group uses manipulation and punishment to control members. Privacy, autonomy and outsider influence are limited. Some members avoid revealing details to restrict control.

  • In the example, faculty imposed their rigid view as the only valid approach. They tried to control students’ thinking and blocked outsiders. Students faced difficulties resisting.

  • The keys to resisting are: recognize the pressures, find allies, use subtle defiance, keep outside contacts, use humor. See the core issue as values, stand up for beliefs, fight for acceptance.

  • Captors use isolation, stress, uncertainty, favors, and propaganda to alter attitudes. Resisting means teamwork, courage, knowledge of methods, and judging actions by your values. Griping and ridicule captors.

  • Share knowledge of captor methods, help each other, resist collaborating, and keep morale high. Collaborators harm all and are despised. Captivity ends but actions matter.

  • Morale, humor, sharing information, resources and support reduce enemy power. Do not feel ashamed to resist. Collaborators should be convinced to stop. Willing collaboration to harm others is unacceptable.

The summary outlines characteristics of totalist groups and strategies for resisting manipulation and control while maintaining one’s identity and values. Recognizing the pressures, building alliances, and subtle defiance are key. Examples show how these dynamics emerge in various contexts.

Here is a summary:

The main points are:

1) Maintain an independent radical perspective. Do not adopt the prevailing views and values of your profession or institution. See them critically for what they are.

2) Connect theory and radical politics to practice. Translate radical ideas into action that creates meaningful change. Do not just passively accept the system you work within.

3) Judge the impact and meaning of your work by radical standards, not by the approval of your employer or profession. Ask whether you are really making a difference to advance social justice and equality.

4) Build connections with like-minded co-workers to gain power and effectiveness. Acting alone is less likely to succeed. Look for ways to raise awareness and push for change together.

5) Take actions ranging from less to more radical and risky, depending on the situation. This includes informal discussions, leaking information, whistleblowing, and sabotage. The goal is dismantling oppressive systems, not just gradual reform.

6) Maintain ties to radical groups and ideas outside of work. Do not become neutralized by adopting the conventional values of your workplace. Stay connected to the broader movement.

7) Help co-workers connect with radical groups and see beyond the public image of your organization. Encourage them in their own radical work and projects.

8) Do not be satisfied with simply doing your job well according to your employer's demands. Look for ways to advance radical goals in your position, even if you have to go against what you were hired to do.

In summary, the key attributes of a radical professional are maintaining an independent radical perspective, translating ideas into meaningful action, judging impact by radical standards, building power with others, taking both gradual and bold actions, staying connected to the radical movement, helping co-workers become more radical, and pushing to advance radical goals within their job. Real change requires ongoing struggle, not passive acceptance of the system.

Here is a summary of the key ideas:

1) Professionals are indoctrinated through their education and training to serve the interests of employers and the status quo rather than the public good. Their career advancement depends on conforming to the dominant ideology of their profession.

2) Professionals are selected and promoted based on their ideological fitness, not just on their competence. The system works to weed out dissenters and those who think critically about the broader implications of their work.

3) Professionals and students should resist indoctrination by critically examining the unstated assumptions and values in their training. They need to find ways to overcome pressures to limit their thinking to narrow technical issues.

4) The book aims to help professionals and students maintain their independence and social conscience. It provides a critique of how professions perpetuate hierarchical and unequal systems.

5) There is a division between professionals and nonprofessionals that limits the development of both groups and undermines democracy. Professionals should build solidarity with nonprofessionals by seeing themselves as workers, not as superior. They should make the same demands, like limits on work hours.

6) Management has an information advantage over professionals that gives them power. Professionals should share information with each other about the politics of their industry and profession to counter this. They need to understand their role in systems of production and how their qualifications and ideologies are shaped by politics, not just technical skills.

7) Resisting pressures to conform is necessary to maintain one's independent identity and stand up for one's values. Though risky, not resisting leads to losing independence and identity.

The overall argument is that radical change is needed to address how established systems limit people's development, independence, and ability to shape their work and society. Education, professions, and workplaces subtly enforce dominant values and ideological conformity. But this can be resisted through critical awareness, collective action, and maintaining one's independence.

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