Ghibellini, Valentina (2018) Public Engagement, educazione superiore e ricerca scientifica in Europa: uno studio sull'esperienza degli Science shop. Doctoral Thesis.
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As recent literature highlighted, the concept of a centralized and vertical university - only for elite and appendix of nation states - is no longer appropriate to explain a complex social system. By now, its components constantly innovate in a process of mutual and reciprocal adjustment, which can be relatively autonomous from the regulatory intervention of a centralized unite.
That complexity results in an attempt to overcome the Ivory Tower model, in favor of an attitude of openness to the societal and economic context. This supports a more active and collaborative involvement of universities.
Additionally, a third mission of university is gaining momentum which tends to bring academy nearer to civil society. This is the called service mission which often takes the form of public engagement.
An example of a specific operational form through which public engagement has been practiced by European universities may be referred to the experience of the so-called are Science Shops. These centers offer a cause for reflection about the third mission and the collaboration between university and society, in a participatory perspective.
This perspective is oriented towards civic engagement in scientific research and brings to a university as place and laboratory of social practice, as “service of social utility”.
This PhD work presents the main findings of empirical research about Science Shops ‘experience across Europe, through questionnaires, focus group and participant observation.
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