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Academic Culture

Traditions and the Present Days


Zbigniew Drozdowicz

The author of this book formulates a general thesis that in the academic culture, since the emergence of the first universities until this very day, two types of that culture have competed with each other, i.e., a corporate and templar one. In his remarks, the author tries to highlight it through the presentation of:

1. The functioning of academia in different time periods, 2. The beliefs of scholars, 3. The ways scholarly achievements have been evaluated, 4. The legal acts for science and academia. A considerable part of this study is devoted to the analysis of the Polish academic culture, including the attempts of adjusting the existing standards of conducting research and educating students to the ones prevailing in the leading Western countries.

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From the Author

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In these deliberations, I adopt the broad notion of culture advanced in 1871 by Edward B. Tylor, approaching it as a “complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” The above is in fact drawn upon by numerous dictionary definitions of culture, such as the one provided in the Cambridge English Dictionary, which states that culture is “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time” (Cambridge English Dictionary 2015). Naturally, it is not my intention to discuss each and every way of human life or all the customs and beliefs that may come into play but to focus solely on those which have been in evidence in the academic community, which in itself invariably demonstrates tremendous cultural diversity. It is only in certain respects that the diversity overlaps with the discrepancies between the Western and the Eastern cultures. The latter encompasses Polish culture, including Polish academic culture, to which I devote relatively much attention here. However, it is so singular with regard to many other traits that its equivalents in other social communities can hardly be found.

Persons who are not members of the academic community often find it difficult to comprehend and accept the way of life and beliefs that scholars embrace. What is more, some scholars find it equally problematic to accept what their fellow scholars believe and...

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