Redefining the Self: The Unsettling Doctoral Program Game
Getting a PhD in North America involves an enormous commitment of time, money, energy, and patience. The decision to pursue this ultimate example of symbolic capital (Bourdieu, 1977a, 1991) in academe is not to be taken lightly, particularly in an era when the market is glutted with unemployed scholars. A great many people never finish, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. In my own case, I wanted this degree. I was fortunate in a perverse way to have been laid off from my full-time teaching job just at the time when I realized I needed to make a leap forward in my knowledge of my field. I was not young. I was bored. I was craving to associate with people who knew more than I did and I looked forward to studying, having discovered in my masters program that I actually enjoyed it. I also wanted to secure another job in a university setting and knew I would no longer be able to do this without a PhD. The field had changed a lot in the previous 10 years and my MA would no longer let me move into this setting at the level that I wanted.