Finally, arts and sciences at their best are what Emerson in his Journals calls "superserviceable
." He lists the word "superserviceable
" among "English words which I never use" for which "my style is so much the poorer" (JMN 5:165), and yet he jots down the word elsewhere in the midst of his discussion of reform, art, and science (JMN 5:112).
I have written such analyses, too, have made those arguments, and have done so most recently in an essay entitled, "Superserviceable Subordinates, Universal Access, and Prestige-Driven Research," in which I argue that because a class system has now been institutionalized within the profession itself, we should assess the structural conditions that have resulted in it, creating permanent subordinate status and inequality for legions of graduate students, adjuncts, and full-time non-tenure-track instructors-persons the MLA calls "education service workers" (1997, 21).
Two structural conditions are crucial, as I argue in "Superserviceable Subordinates": the development of a prestige-based research culture and the push to make access to higher education universal in the population.