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Good relations, freespeech and political activism
Ruth Sheldon

shaped as key institutional settings for the cultivation of democratic reflexivity? My suggestion is that, in order for universities to play this hoped-​for role, scholars must first attend to the historically evolving forms of epistemic and political power within their own institutions (Sangren 2007). We must explore how contemporary universities validate particular forms of knowledge, communication and relationality. These are reflected both in the epistemic hierarchies of theory and practice, in institutionalised assumptions regarding the direction of teaching and

in Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics
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Democratic conflict and the public university
Ruth Sheldon

knowledge and the life world (Delanty 2001). As a consequence, in this book, I frame the university both as a Contested framings 29 historically situated microcosm for the working out of broader democratic tensions in British society and as an institution with an identity at stake in this politics. As the bearer of cultural values and as a socially embedded public institution, the contemporary university has been profoundly shaped by, and implicated with, the transformations of modernity. As Gerard Delanty (2001) has argued, the roots of the contemporary idea of the

in Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics
The claim of reason
Ruth Sheldon

this melodrama in the context of circulating anxieties over the threats posed by dangerous ideologies to the academy. The pressures of these dominant political discourses help to explain the timing of the boycott debate. Yet this also raises a broader question about the sources of these anxieties:  why has concern with extremism and anti-​racism become so prominent in relation to contemporary universities? In responding to this question, it is important to first situate tensions over ‘extremism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ within the broader historical context of

in Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics
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Towards ethical ethnography
Ruth Sheldon

carries a particular potency within 42 Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics contemporary universities, insofar as they are shaped by norms of altruistic self-​ denial and a Kantian emphasis on epistemic and moral universalism (Seidler 2007b). Furthermore, this suspicion of excessive egoism is not limited to positivist approaches. Rather, it also been sustained by post-​structuralism’s critical emphasis on the ways in which theoretical discourses construct their objects, which has displaced sociological approaches attentive to lived experiences (Back 2007; Lynch 2012

in Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics