Meritocracy, evaluation, excellence: The case of universities and research

Invited talk at the conference “The Economy of Francesco” Assisi September 2022

Title “Meritocracy, evaluation, excellence: The case of universities and research”

Abstract “According to the current paradigm, meritocracy in education would have a dual role: on the one hand, that of representing the fundamental criterion through which the most efficient technicians needed for society and its economy are selected; on the other hand, that of providing the moral justification for the inequalities in the distribution of income from work that necessarily arise. It seems, therefore, that behind the word meritocracy lies the instrument used to justify the growth of inequalities. We will examine how meritocracy, preconceived as a dystopia by the English sociologist Michael Young, is declined in a modern key through what we will call techno-evaluation: we will discuss how it is implemented in practice, particularly with regard to research and universities, under the illusory motivation that the centralization of resources on a few educational and scientific excellences reduces waste and improves quality.”

References Francesco Sylos Labini, “Science and the Economic Crisis, Impact on Science Lessons from Science”, Springer 2016.


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