“To conceive of intellectuals as professionals is to put critical thought in social context. To put thought in context is to accuse it of self-interest; that is what social context usually means. But self-interested thought, from the point of view of the ideal, is no longer thought at all. And by the same criterion, it is certainly not critical or radical or adversarial thought. This is the fatal logic of the intellectuals’ disappearance: the more intellectuals are seen as grounded in society, the less they are seen as truly critical or oppositional, hence the less they are themselves. The less they are themselves, the more they can only seem to be glimpsed, for the last time, in the act of vanishing.”
Bruce Robbins, 1993, Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (Verso).