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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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Chapter One: The Corporate and Temple Types of Academic Culture


In this part of my inquiry, I will attempt to identify those component elements of academic culture which not only gave rise to the distinction between its corporate and temple variety, but also continue to sustain that division. Their determination and description involve a major difficulty, since not infrequently both were concurrently in evidence at the same universities, vying for ascendancy, while those who have participated in the confrontations were not always fully aware of the stakes and true ends of that contest, whether past or present. Naturally, attempts have been made to distinguish still other types of that culture (e.g. the distinction into corporate and institutional culture to which I refer further on). However, a correctly developed typology of that culture is required to state its relevant elements as well as indicate such components which correspond with one of the distinguished types but do not particularly dovetail with the competing type (the competitive distinction I mention does meet the former requirement, but I find it does not satisfy the latter).

The term corporation (Lat. corporatio – association, union) denotes such organizations whose agency and social standing stems from the skills and activities of its members. Their traditions date back further than the traditions of universities, namely to that period of the Middle Ages when the guilds of craftsmen and merchants rose to social significance in the then urban centres. According to Jacques Le Goff, the first universities not only grew out of the traditions of those professional corporations,...

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