The Chilean higher education is characterised by unique features that make the concept of ´public’ a multidimensional and fuzzy concept. Through an empirical study that involved interviews with academics and authorities from two public universities, the meanings attached to the production of ‘public goods’ by universities were examined. Findings show a certain similarity of meanings in relation to professional formation, knowledge production and the role of the university in promoting social equity and pluralism, although with different nuances. Also, the production of public goods is analysed in the light of the relationships between universities, the State and the market from which ambivalent meanings emerged. On the one hand, a naturalization of the idea of market in higher education appears and is contested by some academics, and on the other hand, academics are concerned that the State does not enlist public universities in the pursuit of a national agenda. Questions about the idea of the ‘public’ in relation to marketized contexts are discussed.
All seminars are free and open to the public. No advance booking required.