Carnegie Mellon’s Jeffrey Williams has an excellent piece on public intellectuals and Stefan Collini in particular, here. The context is the current higher education debate in the UK (also taking place here in the States).
The money quote:
It was a historically unique situation, he noted: “I’m lucky in my generation. If I had been born 15 or 20 years earlier, from my social background I certainly wouldn’t have had most of the opportunities that I have had.” And, given the cuts enacted in the Thatcher era, “if I’d been born 15 or 20 years later, certainly in Britain, I think the road would have been much rockier in the lack of jobs and declining working conditions in universities.”