Choice and enclosure

by Paul Burmeister

In his 2016 essay on vocation and higher education, professor William T. Cavanaugh begins by tracing or outlining the historic concept of vocation in Western, capitalist culture and society. Choice is examined against the background of religious and economic developments, since the Middle Ages and the Protestant Reformation. Cavanaugh asks, what are the positive and negative aspects of choice, and is choice accompanied by inevitable enclosures? For example, does choice deliver on its promised freedom or on its effective coersion? Does choice create winners and losers? Does the actor experience access or restriction? Will the actor become an author / owner or a steward in the economy?