Articles > Journal articles

Public scholarship, democracy and scholarly engagement

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Corporate author/s:

Education Policy Consortium (EPC); Nelson Mandela Institute for Rural Education and Develoment at the University of Fort Hare; and Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

Person/s author/s:

Motala, Enver


journal article



The main purpose of this writing is to engage with ideas about and interpretations of 'socially engaged or public scholarship' - that is, scholarship that is derived from the co-construction of knowledge out of meaningful engagements between academics and the 'communities' and 'publics' of the university especially such communities that are 'outside' the university but reliant on the useful roles that can be played by critically thinking intellectuals in institutions of higher learning. The approach in this article privileges an engagement with those communities of the university that are most socially marginalised and whose access to social, economic and political power is limited by the social relations in which such communities are implicated because they continue, even in social democratic capitalist states, to remain the most economically exploited, poorly represented politically, culturally obscured and socio-historically marginalised in both urban and rural society all over the globe. Towards this we will explore the following issues before making some concluding remarks: conventional academic interpretations of scholarship and their limits; wider dimensions of scholarship as socially engaged knowledge; who is the 'community' for engaged scholarship; the wider purposes of science and 'public reasoning'.

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