, Volume 21, Issue 4-5, pp 281-287

Higher education, democracy and citizenship – the democratic potential of the university?

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Abstract

From a historical point of view, theuniversity as an institution has had the roleof educating an elite, rather than any obvioustask of enforcing democracy. But what kind ofexpectations regarding citizenship anddemocracy can we justifiably have when it comesto the role of higher education and ouruniversities today when higher education isundergoing a process of massification. Couldthe university eventually become a place fordeliberative communication, developingdeliberative qualities among its many students?According to the contributions presented here –stemming from a conference on the theme``Higher education, democracy and citizenship'',held at Örebro university, Sweden 2000 –the answer is yes, to some extent, if there isroom for pluralism in different dimensions,opportunities to challenge one's own tradition,and tolerance and respect for the concreteother.