European educational research journal vol:8 issue:2 pages:204-217
Instead of asking how universities can contribute to active citizenship and democratic participation (and seeking for ways to improve their contribution), this article asks what it is that universities, due to their specific mission, have to offer. After describing the transition of the historical university (and its focus on modernisation) to the entrepreneurial university (focused on innovation), the authors discuss the current framing of the university’s public role in terms of civic employability. The notion ‘strategies of immunisation’ is introduced to point to the implications of the current focus on citizenship. Finally, an alternative conception of the public role of the university is introduced: the university can be regarded as a space and time to constitute a public by gathering people around matters of concern, and to make something a public concern for people.