“In the United States, the percentage of schoolchildren planning to become high-status professionals is grossly disproportionate to the percentage of such jobs comprising our division of labor. As in a game of musical chairs, it is not structurally possible for everyone to remain a contender.”

Reed College anthropologist Anne Lorimer spends some quality time with nonpilot visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry’s exhibit of an airplane cockpit. They talk about “how they visually experienced a pilot’s workplace, and the lessons they drew from this experience.” She writes about it in the current issue of Teachers College Record (it’s behind a paywall, but here‘s a sketchy summary).

As near as I can tell, she’s interested in how people rationalize their failure to win the game of professional musical chairs, and how those rationalizations help or hurt them in doing what they can do. She’s working on “a book-length ethnography” of the museum, and my guess is it’ll either be really great or it’ll sound like, well, a TCR article urging on us “a pedagogy in which, rather than appropriating technological knowledge, one appropriates one’s own alienation from this knowledge.”