Meritocracy is one of many systems in the United States that is built around maintaining order by prioritizing the appearance that everything is functioning as it should while actively excluding those in marginalized or oppressed groups who are perceived as disrupting societal order. Meritocracy intersects with other American values, particularly individual freedom and whiteness, to create the illusion that people succeed or fail based on their own individual merit and effort. This essay surveys examples of exclusion in higher education to show that the ideals of meritocracy are frequently abandoned in order to preserve the existing order of the institution.
Meritocracy and the Maintenance of Order
Lucy J. Miller is Lecturer in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, College Station. Correspondence to: Lucy J. Miller, Department of Communication, Texas A&M University, College Station, MS4234 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA. Email: email@example.com.
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Lucy J. Miller; Meritocracy and the Maintenance of Order. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 December 2019; 8 (4): 76–81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2019.8.4.76
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