Chapter Six is dedicated to the role that universities as independent actors play in the new knowledge systems oriented towards public engagement as an institutional goal. The triple helix model of innovation, developed by Carayannis and Campbell in 2009, has significantly transformed the strategic position of universities in relation to other stakeholders by incentivizing them to operate as ‘entrepreneurial’ actors that are able to attract joint ventures with private firms, research contracts with external partners, and diversify their income revenue. The process of adaptation of universities to marketization and financialization demands, not least entailed by the entrepreneurial university model and globalization, affects the quality and nature of public engagement with citizens in all its varying forms and implications for the relationship between science and society.
Chapter Five analyses a specific case study in this area of public engagement. It explores the adoption by national governments of a new type of sustainability education in compulsory schooling as an instrument for improving the participation of young people and their families in local knowledge systems that are concerned with climate change, waste management and, generally, environmental sustainability. In the UK, a bill has been discussed since 2019 by Parliament on the adoption of sustainability education in all schools. In Italy, the Italian Parliament passed a law in 2019 that introduced the provision of environmental citizenship education in all schools.
The experience the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture gained through its visits is that there are many serious problems which are not considered to be problems at all and accepted as being ‘just the way things are’. As a result, completely unacceptable forms of ill-treatment are allowed to pass not only unchallenged but even unnoticed by those who are responsible for them. The currently fashionable expression ‘hidden in plain sight’ might seem to sum this up: that we do not notice what is going on right in front of us. This is despite its not being hidden at all and being clearly visible. It is just accepted as acceptable when obviously it is not. This chapter explores this phenomenon and why it can be that states which routinely condemn forms of ill-treatment fail to even recognise it as occurring at all.
Debate on the need for more fairness in academic research collaborations between actors in Africa (or the ‘Global South’, broadly) and counterparts in the Global North has intensified in recent years, while practice-oriented frameworks and efforts to foster more equitable partnerships have proliferated. Important approaches to recognise and undo asymmetries in concrete collaboration arrangements – division of labour, decision making, access to rewards, capacity building – have been identified.
In this provocation we draw on African and other postcolonial, decolonial and feminist scholarship, as well as systems thinking and global science data to argue that such ‘equitable partnerships’ efforts at best sidestep the urgent need for a much more profound rebalancing of the positioning of Africa and ‘Global North’ in the worldwide science and research ecosystem as a whole. We consider why such wider rebalancing is an imperative for both Africa and the global community, propose that research collaborations must be understood as a key entry point for advancing such a systemic shift, and suggest a necessary transformative collaboration mode to this end. We conclude by positing an urgent need to think and act beyond ‘equitable’ partnerships and highlight where responsibilities for action must lie.
This chapter sets out the background to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and how it developed over a 25-year period from a proposal to be incorporated into the text of the UN Convention against Torture itself into a freestanding legal instrument establishing the largest and most distinctive of the UN human rights treaty bodies. Along the way, the difficulties faced in bringing this project to fruition also resulted in the adoption of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, and at a very late stage the addition of ‘National Preventive Mechanisms’ into the OPCAT system. It provides an important case study concerning the generation of international human rights instruments over time and provides essential background for understanding the work of the OPCAT system today.
This chapter develops the sceptic’s conceptual framework as an alternative to the deterministic framework prevalent in economics. The proposed conceptual framework is based on the identification of two separate orders of fact, where the ex post order of facts provides a record of past events, and the ex ante order of facts relates to the structure in the economy and can serve as a guide to action. The ex ante order of facts encompasses causal and structural facts. Determinism requires some empirical regularities, grounding these in the ex post order of facts, under the assumption of the scientific vocation of the impersonal perspective according to which prediction is but explanation – of ex post facts – in the opposite direction. The free will argument used against determinism also fails to draw the distinction between ex post and ex ante facts, since its limiting itself to providing an intelligible account of past events.
There is a very close connection between ‘accepting the unacceptable’ and ‘excusing the inexcusable’. This chapter highlights how, even when something is known to be wrong – or accepted to be unacceptable – it may just not be considered sufficiently serious to merit notice, attention or comment. As a result, when challenged, often bizarre excuses are offered to justify what those offering them know to be inexcusable. The plausibility of the excuse is less important than the fact of making it, and having been made, it then becomes difficult to accept the need for change at all. A classic and stark example is the extent to which some continue to try to excuse the continued use of torture and ill-treatment itself, despite its prohibition. Critically engaging with such excuses can entrench them, yet the very structure of international human rights protection prompts excuse-making, thus rendering the prevention more complex.
This chapter discusses the nature of an economics which does not rely on the concept of a preference field, but which provides for empirical orientation by means of institutions. The notion of consistent choice that finds expression in everyday terms such as a disposition, taste, habit, fashion or custom has the form of an ex ante fact. Provided the notion is not illusory, dispositions, tastes, and so on are therefore independent of particular situations and have a certain invariance, though one would expect them to change from time to time. The proposed abstract model of a genetic explanation consists of (i) explanatory constraints serving as ex ante facts and (ii) explanatory shells for forming ex post facts. If economics is to have empirical content it needs to free itself from a paradox it finds itself in. Choices in general cannot be formulated as ex ante facts. But institutions could be so formulated, though unfortunately economists treat them mostly as ex post facts; either (i) as choices now presented as ex post facts, or (ii) end points of a historical investigation. If formulated as ex ante facts they serve as constraints, but not as constraints on behaviour, instead as constraints on possible explanations.
Economic theory might be expected to position institutions as its empirical content, but the integration of theory and institutional facts has so far not been accomplished in economics. The raison d’être of this book is the opening of a path towards the integration of theory and institutional facts, applying an analytical – rather than historical or evolutionary – approach. This requires a conceptual framework that shows how knowledge of institutions fits into our understanding of economic questions. The conceptual framework relates to the empirical content of economics, identifying two types of facts, distinguishing, for instance, between statistical data, on the one hand, and the relationship that may exist between statistical data, on the other hand. Institutions should figure as facts.