“This special language had its origins in business-speak, and began to spread when Margaret Thatcher insisted that universities should see themselves as businesses, involving ‘processes’ and ‘products’. Such language is fine for the business world, which deals with the definable and quantifiable. As long as the ‘product’ works and sells, they can use whatever language they like about it, however laughably inflated and self-important. But such language is entirely inappropriate to the world of education, for two reasons. First, if students can be processed, produced and packaged like Dairy Lea, their educational experience will be worthless. Second, the ‘product’ of university teaching and research is the articulation of ideas, an activity not best engaged in by downloading pre-packed phrases from the computer in your brain and regurgitating them in no particular order.” Peter Jones —Language Barriers: Universities are becoming factories of jargon and illiteracy (Spectator)
Wait a minute… the academic jargon that I find most troubling has nothing whatsoever to do with such concrete terms as “process” and “product”.
Update: On KairosNews, Vitia writes a lengthy response to Jones:
So, to sum up: Jones bashes university human resources departments for using corporate language (what other sorts of language do human resource departments use?), but says the problem is the fault of “contemporary literary criticism and social and cultural studies.” Huh? Are all the unemployed humanities PhDs suddenly finding work in HR and quoting Judith Butler’s notoriously difficult prose in their memoranda?