The publication, in the fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 protest movement, of a book (edited by two economists of the University of Bergamo) entitled Ai confini della docenza. Per la critica dell’Università provides the opportunity to reflect upon the Italian university system in the framework of neoliberistic theories and practices. By now even a large share of the already insufficient ordinary funding is allocated on the basis of competitions among universities, departments, individual researchers. Yet the so-called Matthew effect concentrates this meritocratic funding where needs are less pressing, with the consequence of further raising the gap between universities of the South and the North of the Country and, in turn, the gap between the South and the North. The pervasiveness of competition produces envy and erodes collaboration. Therefore it deteriorates work environments and relationships and, as a result, the mental health of researchers. Moreover the pervasiveness of competition produces conformism, as the meritocratic evaluation of scientific research, on whose grounds funds are allocated while they could find their way without contests and in a solidaristic-constitutional direction, is managed by an Agency which imposes on any researcher substantially the same rules and indicators, thus impeding to try new and independent research paths (and to exert the freedom of science sanctioned by Article 33, paragraph 1, of the Italian Constitution).
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