Knowledge Utility: From Social Relevance to Knowledge Mobilization


  • Judith C. Naidorf Universidad de Buenos Aires Conicet



knowledge utility, social relevance of research, knowledge mobilization, scientific policy


In recent years, a more sophisticated vocabulary has emerged in the field of higher education. Categories such as socially relevant research; knowledge mobilization; research impact; innovation; and university priorities have appeared. At first glance, these words may appear neutral, simple and free from conflicts of interest. However, I argue that each of them requires deeper analysis, especially in relation to current scientific and university public policies, as their use has consequences and/or impacts both at the institutional level (higher education institutions) and actor-level (scholars, project managers, etc.). Therefore, by shedding light on the fact that “social relevance” of university is a commonly addressed category in documents regulating university activities, I postulate that such categories indicate a reductionist notion of “relevance” that is used haphazardly as a substitute for the ideas of meaning, mission, and the aims of a university. In order to pinpoint and discuss these new terms and categories that are used as measures of academic knowledge, the paper focuses on public university systems in Argentina and Canada. From a comparative perspective, I aim at grasping a better understanding of the changes in knowledge mobilization. 


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Author Biography

Judith C. Naidorf, Universidad de Buenos Aires Conicet

Doctor of the University of Buenos Aires, Area Educational Sciences. Degree in Educational Sciences (UBA). Research fellow. National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) based in the Research Institute in Educational Sciences. Coordinator of the Working Group of CLACSO “Ciencia social politizada y móvil en y para una agenda latinoamericana de investigaciones orientada a prioridades desde la universidad” (2013-2016), which includes members from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Cuba and Paraguay. Director of UBAcyT “La movilización del conocimiento producido por las Ciencias Sociales en universidades públicas como condición actual de producción intelectual” (2013-2016) and a PIP project funded by CONICET “Las actuales condiciones de
producción intelectual y sus Impactos en la creatividad de los académicos de las universidades públicas argentinas” (2012-2014). She obtain grants from CLACSO ́s scholarship program, Canada ́s Faculty Research Program (International Council for Canadian Studies), UBA and CONICET. She participated in the Inter-university Framework Program for Equity and Social Cohesion Policies in Higher Education (RIAIPE), funded by the European Union. 




How to Cite

Naidorf, J. C. (2014). Knowledge Utility: From Social Relevance to Knowledge Mobilization. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22, 89.