Academic freedom, institutional autonomy and the future of democracy

Tony Gallagher, Sjur Bergan, Ira Harkavy

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Academic freedom and institutional autonomy are essential for universities to produce the research and teaching necessary to improve society and the human condition.

Academic freedom and institutional autonomy are increasingly important components of the development of democracy. At the same time, these fundamental democratic values are subject to pressure in many countries.

The relationship between academic freedom, institutional autonomy and democracy is fundamental: it is barely conceivable that they could exist in a society not based on democratic principles, and democracy is enriched when higher education institutions operate on this basis. Higher education institutions need to be imbued with democratic culture and that, in turn, helps to promote democratic values in the wider society. None of these issues are simple and the lines between legitimacy and illegitimacy are sometimes hard to discern, as is illustrated by perspectives from Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and the Mediterranean region.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationStrasbourg
PublisherStrasbourg: Council of Europe/ Conseil de l’Europe
Number of pages270
ISBN (Electronic)978-92-871-8714-7
ISBN (Print)978-92-871-9018-5
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2020

Publication series

NameHigher Education and Research
PublisherCouncil of Europe


  • higher education
  • academic freedom
  • institutional autonomy
  • democracy
  • public engagement
  • civic engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Education


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