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Maria José Casa-Nova

Universities began their academic activity as elite institutions, building science and teaching scientific knowledge with and for a specific audience drawn from higher social prestige classes. They were privileged institutions, with a privileged professional body and a privileged audience. Currently, universities seek to democratize, not only by opening the recruitment of teachers and researchers from diversified backgrounds, but also by addressing a wider audience, heterogeneous in terms of gender, class, phenotype and culture. This low-intensity democratization of universities might become transformed into high-intensity democratization. However, pressured by multiple expectations and claims, “universities became dynamic systems of contradictory functions” (Castells 2001), and this has led to a crisis of hegemony, legitimacy and institution. This chapter takes a critical stand toward the market-oriented, business-driven university and proposes value-based answers for the dissolution of contradictions