In Ellen Cushman’s article, Opinion: The Public Intellectual, a public intellectual is claimed to be an educated member of society that tends to rank higher in the “social ladder”. However, Cushman argues that not all public intellectuals are of the middle and upper class.
One merit of public intellectualism is service learning. Service learning is community service that reemphasizes a learning goal from the classroom, or any other form of volunteer work that teaches one something.
Complications of the phrase “public intellectualism” include a degrading of the lower social classes. The lower social classes are deemed to be unintelligent and not part of the community intellectuals. This is not true. I believe that all members of a society each contribute to the overall intelligence within the community. The problem with the term “public intellectuals” is that it implies that some people are unintellectual. Every single person has areas that they are and are not intelligent in. Classifying some individuals as intellectuals leaves out the remainder of society in a negative way. To correct this, the term “public intellectuals” should be replaced by a term that states an area of intellectualism.
When I searched for articles regarding service learning in my intended field of accounting, I found a rather interesting one. The author of this paper was assigned a project in which they had to act as a public intellectual and do service learning. The assignment ended up being greatly useful to the student. He was able to learn a great deal about accounting and experience his field in the real world, an experience he otherwise would have missed out on by simply reading a textbook. As stated in this article, http://www.newaccountantusa.com/newsFeat/wealthManagement/melanie_na_response_to_service-learning.pdf , service learning had made the student better educated, therefore making him more intellectual in his field. I would consider this student more of a public intellectual in the field of accounting.
I believe that anybody and everybody is a public intellectual in different ways. My intended field does offer opportunities to practice service learning and public intellectualism. Accounting has many potential research, teaching, and service opportunities, as well as all other fields in society.