Nothing typifies our era more than the trembling and transformation of many social institutions that we have perceived within a continuum transcending the horizon of one human life. Nothing is more connected with the development and self-awareness of the Euro-American civilisation than universities. While teachers and books sometimes burned at the stakes, over time universities became islands spreading free thinking, knowledge and competences permeating the entire society, in effect turning into one of the cornerstones of the democratic culture.
Along with the commercialisation and massification of education came new challenges that affect both practical and symbolic levels of the functioning of universities, from particulars of teaching and research to self-government to the system as a whole. How do universities fare trying to maintain academic freedoms, which are the spring of many aspects of freedom in general? What are the challenges they face? What consequences does their failure entail? Can we identify them and respond to them adequately?
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