New paper on the University of Durham as a Site of Knowledge 

Production published by the Insitute of Advanced Study in Durham

“Those outside the confines of research communities and who are frequently marginalised from public consideration need to be more involved:” says Mistra Urban Futures’ Tim May, in an article recently published by the Insitute of Advanced Study.

May argues that there is a gamble taking place with the future of universities and tackling the issue of what makes these institutions distinctive as a site of knowledge production is core to their future prosperity. The university is being forged in the name of particular interests and in the process frustrated ambitions often align to unrealisable expectations and, from there, the path to cynical resignation is open. Tackling this is not for the university alone. Those outside the confines of research communities and who are frequently marginalised from public consideration need to be more involved: not in the tokenism that often informs participation but in deliberations and decisions that mobilise knowledge. This is not easy given the power imbalances that exist, but it is also where imaginative possibilities can be produced. The article examines these changes over time and concludes with a call for ‘active intermediation’ in knowledge production, not as an exception but an institutionally embedded set of practices with implications not only for the university but for what constitutes a successful university career. 
Tim is Professor of Social Scientific Methodology at the Sheffield Methods Institute. He is the international methodological advisor to the SMLIP and is working on the role of boundary agents and the circulation of knowledge and decision-making in research practice. The article cites Mistra Urban Futures as a funder. Read full article.

May, T. (2018).   Evidence and Insight: In Search of the Distinctiveness of the University as a Site of Knowledge Production. Insights.   Volume 10, Article 14.  pp. 2-15.

Additional news: Latest edition of ‘Thinking Sociologically’ published
The third edition of Thinking Sociologically, written by Tim May together with the late Zygmunt Bauman, is due out in February. The book itself has been translated into twelve languages and sold in the tens of thousands - a series of essay, without references, on the issues that inform our everyday lives, including matters of sustainability and social justice. Thanks are given to the contribution of Mistra Urban Futures in the acknowledgements.

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Thinking Sociologically

Photo: Johan Berlin Small featured.