chapter  2
21 Pages

University Ambiguity and Institutionalization: a Tale of Three Regions


Traditional conceptions of the university as a closed system (“ivory-tower”) have gradually given way to perspectives focusing on the interplay between internal dynamics/operations and external events (Etzkowitz, Webster, Gebhardt and Terra, 2000). External interests and agendas have an increasing impact on the inner life of academe (Benneworth and Jongbloed, 2010). e classic notion of the university as a self-governed “community of scholars” (Olsen, 2007) has increasingly been under pressure, resulting in various attempts at changing the “institutional fabric” (Scott and Christensen, 1995) of higher education institutions. is is particularly the case within Europe, where universities have been identied as the cornerstones of the “Europe of Knowledge” (Maassen and Olsen, 2007). While the third mission of societal engagement was traditionally circumscribed to a specic type of university (Christy and Williamson, 1992; Dahllöf and Selander, 1994), nowadays all academic institutions are expected, in one way or another, to become actively engaged with, and directly contribute to, society and/or the local community (Aghion et al., 2008; OECD, 2007).