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Alessandro De Nisco, Giada Mainolfi, Vittoria Marino and Maria Rosaria Napolitano

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Angelo Riviezzo, Maria Rosaria Napolitano and Antonella Garofano

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Angelo Riviezzo, Maria Rosaria Napolitano and Antonella Garofano

This study aims to discuss the actual commitment of Italian universities towards their ‘third mission’ by applying Critical Discourse Analysis. We focused on the texts published by the 84 Italian universities on their websites. First, we performed a lexical-statistical study of the texts with the main aim of observing the adopted terminology (vocabulary). Then we employed multidimensional statistic techniques in order to study the discursive practices and reconstruct the major models of sense behavior. Alongside this, we carried out an exploratory study of the social context to link the texts and the discursive practices to the background conditions. Our results seem to suggest that the new mission of the university does not yet represent a central theme in the discourse, neither in the social context nor within the universities. Moreover, there is some caution in using a rhetoric that celebrates the third mission and there is no evidence of a deliberated appropriation of a commercial vocabulary, as it happened in different social contexts. Key words: academic entrepreneurship; university mission; critical discourse analysis