Issues, Models and Cases
Edited by Carmelo Mazza, Paolo Quattrone and Angelo Riccaboni
Introduction: Found In Translation? The Persistence of the University as Institution
Introduction. Found in translation? The persistence of the university as institution Carmelo Mazza, Paolo Quattrone and Angelo Riccaboni INTRODUCTION The scope and nature of the university institution is the object of a wide academic and political debate (Derrida, 2001; Slaughter and Leslie, 1997; Schofer and Meyer, 2005; Brint, 2005; Ramirez, 2006; Frank and Gabler, 2006). Issues like the commercialization of knowledge, technology transfer, the rise of the corporate university, the standardization of curricula and degree programmes raise a wide research interest in diﬀerent disciplinary domains. Pressures to change existing regulations are increasing due to the changing role of the university in society as well as to the evolution of academic science production (Nedeva and Boden, 2006). As Slaughter and Leslie (1997) and Frank and Gabler (2006) illustrate, the main characteristics of the university as an institution are persistence and expansion. The university is a centuries-old institution whose role in the production and diﬀusion of knowledge has not been (and possibly is not) at stake. For this reason, university education is still expanding worldwide as are the number and size of universities. However, despite persistence and expansion, the scope and nature of the university has not been stable over time (see Rüegg, 1996). Diﬀerent ideas co-exist about what the university is and what it should be. In this introduction, we propose our view of the current role of the university in society and, moving from that, we look at the roots of university persistence, analysed in our...