Chapter 9: Re-engaging with the Global South: new directions for research into universities and their relations with society
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Research on the relations between higher education institutions and the societies in which they are geographically located and the communities they interact with, is relatively underdeveloped. It reflects the paradoxes and equivocal nature of those relations, for example, in maintaining power relations and excluding particular groups of people. It adopts ambiguous terms used to describe these relationships: 'engagement', 'knowledge exchange', 'research translation' and 'service'. Researchers are mostly affiliated with the Global North and have drawn, often unwittingly, on the logics of imperialism, colonialism and neoliberalism to interpret and legitimate policies and practices that ought to be subjected to greater critique. We propose to rethink university engagement, that illuminates the methodologies, power relations, cultures and structures, ontologies and epistemologies underlying the activity. We also propose a future research agenda incorporating perspectives marginalised to date, methodologies that foster collaboration, and the co-creation of knowledge approaches that emphasise the social purposes of universities.

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