University ranking as social exclusion

Amsler, Sarah and Bolsmann, Chris (2012) University ranking as social exclusion. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 33 (2). pp. 283-301. ISSN 0142-5692

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2011.649835

Abstract

In this article we explore the dual role of global university rankings in the creation of a new, knowledge-identified, transnational capitalist class and in facilitating new forms of social exclusion. We examine how and why the practice of ranking universities has become widely defined by national and international organisations as an important instrument of political and economic policy. We consider the development of university rankings into a global business combining social research, marketing
and public relations, as a tangible policy tool that narrowly redefines the social purposes of higher education itself. Finally, it looks at how the influence of rankings on national funding for teaching and research constrains
wider public debate about the meaning of ‘good’ and meaningful education in the United Kingdom and other national contexts, particularly by shifting the debate away from democratic publics upward into the elite networked institutions of global capital. We conclude by arguing
that, rather than regarding world university rankings as a means to establish criteria of educational value, the practice may be understood as an exclusionary one that furthers the alignment of higher education with neoliberal rationalities at both national and global levels.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:In this article we explore the dual role of global university rankings in the creation of a new, knowledge-identified, transnational capitalist class and in facilitating new forms of social exclusion. We examine how and why the practice of ranking universities has become widely defined by national and international organisations as an important instrument of political and economic policy. We consider the development of university rankings into a global business combining social research, marketing and public relations, as a tangible policy tool that narrowly redefines the social purposes of higher education itself. Finally, it looks at how the influence of rankings on national funding for teaching and research constrains wider public debate about the meaning of ‘good’ and meaningful education in the United Kingdom and other national contexts, particularly by shifting the debate away from democratic publics upward into the elite networked institutions of global capital. We conclude by arguing that, rather than regarding world university rankings as a means to establish criteria of educational value, the practice may be understood as an exclusionary one that furthers the alignment of higher education with neoliberal rationalities at both national and global levels.
Keywords:higher education, exclusion, knowledge society, neoliberalism, transnational capitalist class, university rankings
Subjects:L Social studies > L433 Education Policy
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:4944
Deposited By: Sarah Amsler
Deposited On:14 Mar 2012 11:07
Last Modified:04 Dec 2013 21:22

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