I wasn’t a frat guy in college. I was pretty much the opposite of a frat guy. But as I’ve slowly come to understand more about my own discipline, and the workings of academic life in general, I’ve come to believe that most of our professional communities operate pretty much the same way that frats do.
Bear with me here. As we all know, a credential alone is not enough to be accepted within and achieve professional success within an academic discipline. Access is tightly socially controlled. Just as the Greek organizations that some of our undergraduates participate in are defined largely by social gatekeeping mechanisms, so too are academic disciplines defined. A discipline is not only a grouping of a topic or subject of expertise, but also a social grouping, defined as much by who it excludes from its ranks as who it includes within them. Down to the individual level. —more—