Universities as Contested Civic Spaces

  • Thomas Andrew BryerEmail author
  • Cristian Pliscoff
  • Ashley Wilt Connors
Part of the Rethinking University-Community Policy Connections book series (REUNCOPOCO)


Whereas we focus on civic risk taking in Chap.  6, including research, teaching, and other activities that might occur off campus or in partnership with community groups, in this chapter, we consider civic action on the university campus itself. Specifically, we consider the geographic space of the university campus as a contested civic space. We examine different ways in which individuals living or working on a university campus might be alternatively empowered or manipulated, or some of both, depending on the political sensitivity of an issue. We outline four strategies potentially employed by university leadership to either allow for or mitigate against certain kinds of participation of professors, staff, and students in civic and political activities: (1) controlled participation, (2) tokenistic participation, (3) symbolic or fake participation, and (4) authentic participation.


Civic contestation Civic engagement Political engagement Forms of participation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Andrew Bryer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Cristian Pliscoff
    • 3
  • Ashley Wilt Connors
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.Kaunas University of TechnologyKaunasLithuania
  3. 3.Institute of Public AffairsUniversity of ChileSantiagoChile

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