Review Without Privilege – Seeing the New in a New Way

An analysis of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy by Kathleen Fitzpatrick.

There is a deep resistance to change in so much of the world. This resistance is perhaps preventing us from seeing what is happening clearly. After all, if we are only able to view the new and the innovative through the structures we used to view the traditional, then are we in fact doing a terrible injustice to the ground-breakers? Academia is holding on to the need to judge innovation in online writing through traditional methods, and those methods simply are not fit to judge what cannot fit into their rigid boxes. We cannot judge the new by the standards of the old if the standards of the old are not fit to judge the new. Holding on to a process which could stifle new and innovative systems represents a fear of change which runs so deep it runs the risk of undermining its’ own integrity. There is a sense of greed for currently held privilege and a fear of openness which seems to run deep within the psyche of those who hold that privilege, and this has the potential to stifle digital innovation in academic writing. Of course it is always difficult to let go of what we “know”, to peer underneath our own bias so that we can be truly objective, but this process is the process by which we can embrace change and move forward into the digital age as scholars at the forefront of our discipline, preferably with the weight of academia and all its’ history behind us. Hopefully they will be cheering us on, not fearfully holding us back.

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