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“Small World”, or global campus thirty-six years later

Journal: The Digital Scholar: Philosopher’s Lab (Vol.3, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 8-21

Keywords : scientific communication; university; mobilities; global campus; distributed knowledge; trust; academic identity;

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This article offers a review and reflection on some trends of today's academic world through the metaphor of the “global campus” described in the novel The Small World (1984) by David Lodge, an English writer and literary critic. The novel reveals the problems of academic communities in the context of the emerging global neoliberalism. Proceeding from the idea of the university as a “micromodel of society,” which mirrors certain salient trends of social life, I extrapolate this metaphor to the present. The “global campus” appears not only a still trendy metaphor, but also an ever-evolving entity, which is adapting new technologies for its further unfolding. The trends of scientific communications of the 1980s captured in prose are compared with today's realities, us-ing also the concepts of mobility and networking. In this regard, in the first part of the article I turn to John Urry's ideas on mobilities and networks, as well as to Peter Galison's concept of trading zones, aiming to rethink scientific communications in the “physical-virtual” axis. Speaking of academic social networks, in the second part I consider the concepts of distributed knowledge, Sci-ence 2.0 and the like, and suggest a few illustrations of how they are possibly transforming the problem of trust. The third part focuses on academic identity in the digital age and the issue of the “double game.” The latter is understood as an attempt to maneuver between conflicting formats of two worlds. The first, offline academic world, is driven by its long ago recognized mech-anisms for increasing scientific capital, while the second, online world, largely originates in the principles of open science. In conclusion, I emphasize that we may estimate the uncertainty in the further unfolding of the “global campus” as a constructive moment.

Last modified: 2020-09-03 19:59:25