My rationale for working at a university and studying for a PhD was not to "escape the real world" but to allow me to understand it better and (hopefully) share that understanding with others. Frank Furedi clarified the balance that needs to be struck between academics taking on the responsibility of a public role and the demands of those outside the university. While the public role of the academic may be an important one, it should happen on terms that do not diminish our ability to freely criticise policy and other developments as we see fit.
Department of sociology and social policy
University of Southampton