Small World”, or global campus thirty-six years later

Svet­lana V. Shibarshi­na
Lobachevsky State Uni­ver­si­ty of Nizh­ni Nov­gorod

Small World”, or glob­al cam­pus thir­ty-six years lat­er

Abstract. This arti­cle offers a review and reflec­tion on some trends of today’s aca­d­e­m­ic world through the metaphor of the “glob­al cam­pus” described in the nov­el The Small World (1984) by David Lodge, an Eng­lish writer and lit­er­ary crit­ic. The nov­el reveals the prob­lems of aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ties in the con­text of the emerg­ing glob­al neolib­er­al­ism. Pro­ceed­ing from the idea of the uni­ver­si­ty as a “micro­mod­el of soci­ety,” which mir­rors cer­tain salient trends of social life, I extrap­o­late this metaphor to the present. The “glob­al cam­pus” appears not only a still trendy metaphor, but also an ever-evolv­ing enti­ty, which is adapt­ing new tech­nolo­gies for its fur­ther unfold­ing. The trends of sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions of the 1980s cap­tured in prose are com­pared with today’s real­i­ties, us-ing also the con­cepts of mobil­i­ty and net­work­ing. In this regard, in the first part of the arti­cle I turn to John Urry’s ideas on mobil­i­ties and net­works, as well as to Peter Galison’s con­cept of trad­ing zones, aim­ing to rethink sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tions in the “phys­i­cal-vir­tu­al” axis. Speak­ing of aca­d­e­m­ic social net­works, in the sec­ond part I con­sid­er the con­cepts of dis­trib­uted knowl­edge, Sci-ence 2.0 and the like, and sug­gest a few illus­tra­tions of how they are pos­si­bly trans­form­ing the prob­lem of trust. The third part focus­es on aca­d­e­m­ic iden­ti­ty in the dig­i­tal age and the issue of the “dou­ble game.” The lat­ter is under­stood as an attempt to maneu­ver between con­flict­ing for­mats of two worlds. The first, offline aca­d­e­m­ic world, is dri­ven by its long ago rec­og­nized mech-anisms for increas­ing sci­en­tif­ic cap­i­tal, while the sec­ond, online world, large­ly orig­i­nates in the prin­ci­ples of open sci­ence. In con­clu­sion, I empha­size that we may esti­mate the uncer­tain­ty in the fur­ther unfold­ing of the “glob­al cam­pus” as a con­struc­tive moment.

Key­words: sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tion, uni­ver­si­ty, mobil­i­ties, glob­al cam­pus, dis­trib­uted knowl­edge, trust, aca­d­e­m­ic iden­ti­ty

DOI: 10.5840/dspl2020311


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