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  • Author or Editor: Stella Maile x
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This chapter provides a discussion of the location and relative worth of public engagement initiatives in the current political and economic climate which is dominated by neoliberalism and the market. It is suggested that different values and imaginaries are brought to bear on public engagement along with dynamism and creativity of people in dialogue. The chapter focuses on one example of a public engagement initiative, Social Science in the City which is subject to competing discourses and policies on evidence-gathering and impact assessment.

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This article frames and highlights critical themes emerging from the contributions to this Best Value section: that Best Value possesses subtle, and not so subtle, political, organisational, strategic and governmental dimensions. Drawing on these themes we develop our own argument that, during Blair’s first term, Best Value was presented as a potentially enlightened ‘user-friendly’ tool for the expression of diverse social and organisational interests. Increasingly, it is emerging as yet another of a long line of retrograde managerial techniques. The pragmatism of Best Value is becoming more overtly bound up with government centralisation, support for neoliberalism and the private finance initiative.

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This original edited collection explores the value of public engagement in a wider social science context. Its main themes range from the dialogic character of social science to the pragmatic responses to the managerial policies underpinning the restructuring of Higher Education. The book is organised in three parts: the first encourages the reader to reflect upon the different social and political inflections of public engagement and offers one university example of a social science café in Bristol. The following sections are based upon talks given in the café and are linked by a concern with public engagement and the contribution of social science to a reflexive understanding of the dilemmas and practices of daily life. This highly topical book will be of interest to academics, practitioners and students interested in critical social issues as they impact on their everyday lives.

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This chapter analyses the meaning of public engagement and its relations to broader policy agendas and institutional change. It also outlines the concept of “publics” and their discursive, institutional and technical forms of production. Finally it considers the origins of the café scientifique movement and the social science café in particular.

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The chapter outlines a student’s experience of participating in study around the recording of older people’s thoughts. The chapter represents one student’s reflections on the methodology and feelings.

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The conclusion argues that public engagement is now a central part of the university’s mission. In practice, top down managerialist approaches are combined with counter-hegemonic imaginaries of the public good. A key issue raised in the conclusion is how the axes of dialogue and control are mediated in practice. The social science café is taken as a case study of the role of socially imagined public spaces and identities and the diversity of publics. While acknowledging the importance of evaluation in public engagement initiatives the chapter argues against formulaic reduction and quantification in what were often diffuse and complex ‘impacts’. The chapter concludes by reiterating the emancipatory role of public sociology and the performative character of social science as bringing particular social realities into being.

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This original edited collection explores the value of public engagement in a wider social science context. Its main themes range from the dialogic character of social science to the pragmatic responses to the managerial policies underpinning the restructuring of Higher Education. The book is organised in three parts: the first encourages the reader to reflect upon the different social and political inflections of public engagement and offers one university example of a social science café in Bristol. The following sections are based upon talks given in the café and are linked by a concern with public engagement and the contribution of social science to a reflexive understanding of the dilemmas and practices of daily life. This highly topical book will be of interest to academics, practitioners and students interested in critical social issues as they impact on their everyday lives.

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This original edited collection explores the value of public engagement in a wider social science context. Its main themes range from the dialogic character of social science to the pragmatic responses to the managerial policies underpinning the restructuring of Higher Education. The book is organised in three parts: the first encourages the reader to reflect upon the different social and political inflections of public engagement and offers one university example of a social science café in Bristol. The following sections are based upon talks given in the café and are linked by a concern with public engagement and the contribution of social science to a reflexive understanding of the dilemmas and practices of daily life. This highly topical book will be of interest to academics, practitioners and students interested in critical social issues as they impact on their everyday lives.

Restricted access

This original edited collection explores the value of public engagement in a wider social science context. Its main themes range from the dialogic character of social science to the pragmatic responses to the managerial policies underpinning the restructuring of Higher Education. The book is organised in three parts: the first encourages the reader to reflect upon the different social and political inflections of public engagement and offers one university example of a social science café in Bristol. The following sections are based upon talks given in the café and are linked by a concern with public engagement and the contribution of social science to a reflexive understanding of the dilemmas and practices of daily life. This highly topical book will be of interest to academics, practitioners and students interested in critical social issues as they impact on their everyday lives.

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This original edited collection explores the value of public engagement in a wider social science context. Its main themes range from the dialogic character of social science to the pragmatic responses to the managerial policies underpinning the restructuring of Higher Education. The book is organised in three parts: the first encourages the reader to reflect upon the different social and political inflections of public engagement and offers one university example of a social science café in Bristol. The following sections are based upon talks given in the café and are linked by a concern with public engagement and the contribution of social science to a reflexive understanding of the dilemmas and practices of daily life. This highly topical book will be of interest to academics, practitioners and students interested in critical social issues as they impact on their everyday lives.

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