22 (1)
Free subscription at
the electronic version of journal
Subscription index
in the Russian Post
catalogue – 43669
Until 01.01.2019 - Scientific Yearbook of the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

ISSN 2686-7206 (Print)

ISSN 2686-925X (Оnlinе)

Filimonov Kirill
Modern universities often become a subject of discussion in the public sphere, during which the relevance of university programs, the financing of science and higher education, and a number of other issues are discussed. These discussions again and again prompt political theorists to reflect on the “idea of a university”. These ideas are associated with values, expectations and beliefs, and are most often expressed in the form of normative representations based either on pragmatism that define the university as a functional element of the state system, or on utilitarianism that required from the university to satisfy the economic demands of society, or on idealism that forces position the university as an “ivory tower”. The presented positions somewhat exaggerate the value of some of the university’s abilities to the detriment of others and distort not only the optics of research, but also the social beliefs that influences the development of state systems and universities. Based on the institutional approach, the authors of this article propose a theoretical position that allows to grasp the current pragmatics of the university community, the market and the state regarding the development of universities and their contribution to the organization of the societal order. According to this position, the university should be considered as an intermediary institution that has public subjectivity; acts as an organizational form of the university community and agent of societal relations; carries out a communicative exchange with the external environment (represented by societies, states, markets); creates conditions for the interaction of various agents of societal relations, including on their own space via a formalized rational public discussion; finally, it produces knowledge that influences the organization of the societal order. All of this taken together allows us to consider the university a mediator. This position of the university allows it to successfully fulfill its mediating role, both within the university corporation and outside it, balance between different social expectations and remain in one of the most stable and adaptive organizational forms that constitute the societal order. 
Keywords: university; the idea of a university; étatisme; managerialism; mediation; intermediary institution; societal order. 
Download article TPL_IPL_ARTICLE_PDF