22 SES 13 B, Universities and Social Justice: Research From a Human Development and Human Capabilities Perspective
One of the outcomes of adapting university curricula to the requirements of the European Higher Education Area has been that the humanities content in the curriculum followed by future engineers is being seriously threatened. As Robbins emphasizes, engineers perceived themselves as having a greater capacity to make decisions than lay people and to have a professional identity and status which qualifies them to exercise power in organizations. For these reasons training in cosmopolitan capabilities, as proposed by Nussbaum, appears to us to be crucial if we are to prepare professionals who have a commitment to social justice. This paper aims to explore the potential of a curriculum designed to develop Nussbaum’s cosmopolitan capability through two elective subjects offered to future engineers in a Spanish Technical University. From this perspective, the origin, context and pedagogical rationale of the curriculum is described including the discussion of an exploratory study based on discourse analysis and how it has informed our pedagogical practice. Finally we argue for the importance of electives that develop cosmopolitan values and capability for students of technical programmes in Higher Education, and the need to consider the implications of their demise as a consequence of the Bologna Process.
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