I tell my Ph.D. students that everything we do is public and thus open to criticism. We are evaluated by 18 year old undergraduates who can barely write and by administrators who have never been academics. Our research/writing is subject to unprofessional and anonymous attacks during the peer review process and, of course, our lives as scholars sometimes become the focal points of conflict. Everything, and I mean everything, is subject to criticism.
Many academics simply cannot handle this level of scrutiny or the nastiness often embedded in it. They often withdraw, stop writing, stop teaching about certain issues, and some leave the academy.
This is the side of the academy that few on the outside get to see. Only rarely does it make the news and only rarely are people called to account.
I’m currently writing a paper on academic deviance and have found little written on the topic. A few studies have examined academic bullying and academic mobbing but overall, very little empirical work exists documenting this part of our academic lives. Interesting, to say the least.......
To show you how petty some academics are, read the following story published in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. A female scholar published an essay about balancing an academic life with family life and the newspaper ran a picture of her, her husband, and her adorable baby. True to form, she was roundly criticized and publicly attacked by other academics. Everything, as I said, is subject to criticism.
Read about it here: chronicle.com/article/When-Fellow-Academics-Make-Fun/236774/?cid=VTKT1
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology