Honourary doctorates can perpetuate, reinforce social inequality: Opinion

In a recent article for the Australian edition of The Conversation, Kate Murphy discusses the history of honorary doctorates and what the choices of recipients shows about institutions’ priorities. Murphy argues that honourary doctorates demonstrate how universities reinforce and perpetuate social inequality. Many of these honourary degrees are used in strategic ways to benefit the institution and create connections with powerful, well-known individuals. The author writes that institutions have been criticized for honouring individuals with political connections or problematic viewpoints, and have faced controversy over a lack of diversity in their choices. “Honorary doctorates have failed to cast off their function and reputation as a kind of academic peerage,” writes Murphy. “They are uncomfortable reminders that our universities are still led and occupied, for the most part, by the socially privileged few.” The Conversation Note: Archived stories may contain dead links or be missing source links.

The Conversation | The Conversation | The Conversation