The future of public intellectualism lies in reforming the digital public sphere
What does the future hold for the public intellectual? And what is the role of the university when it comes to sustaining and enriching a broader intellectual culture in the public sphere?
Public intellectuals as they have traditionally been perceived, as individual scholars speaking truth to power, are a declining feature of public life. Responding to the centrality of digital communication in the public sphere Mark Murphy and Cristina Costa, argue that academia needs to further value and prioritise engagement with the digital public sphere and that beyond simply taking its forms and standards as a given, the future of public intellectualism rests on constructively improving this discourse for the benefit of the public as a whole.
Intellectual life is currently framed by a contradiction. On the one hand, notions of engagement and knowledge transfer have taken centre stage in higher education institutions, manifested in their desire to create impact with the general public and non-academic institutions. But on the other hand, societies such as the UK are witnessing an apparent decline in the role and importance of the public intellectual…
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Cristina Costa is Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Durham University & co-editor of the Social Theory Applied blog. Find her research on education and emergent social phenomena.
Mark Murphy is Reader in Education & Public Policy, University of Glasgow & co-editor of the Social Theory Applied blog. Find his latest research on the relationship between education and broader public policy.
Read Cristina & Mark’s full research paper on digital scholarship and higher education.
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