Construction of the Dispositions of Institutional habitus in the Academic Field

Luciana Massi, Alberto Villani


This paper describes the main phases of development of an Institute of Chemistry in relation with national policy from the academic field. Its history begins with a proposal to meet the demand for chemistry teacher education and goes on to become a major center for research, education and extension. Throughout its 50 years of history, the Institution has faced numerous challenges by adopting strategies that have established and revealed its institutional habitus. To this end, we use some of René Kaës’s concepts about the development of groups and institutions, highlighting mainly the origins, expectations and covenants that underpinned its foundation, and the entire process of its expansion and institutionalization. Our main focus, also interpreted based on the theory of Pierre Bourdieu and followers, is the establishment of its institutional habitus, i.e., how it interprets and organizes its institutional teaching, research and extension activities within the context of the academic field. The peculiarity of the process has been the mismatch between internal and external pressures. Even though presenting the results of a case study, in general, our methodology can improve the understanding of institution’s development in relation with educational policy.

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