University rankings and the consolidation of elite networked institutions in an era of global capital

Amsler, Sarah and Bolsmann, Chris (2015) University rankings and the consolidation of elite networked institutions in an era of global capital. In: 2010 BAICE Conference: Education and Social Justice in Challenging Times, 10-12 September 2010, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


In this paper 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. exclusion; higher education; knowledge society; neoliberalism;
transnational capitalist class; university rankings

Keywords:exclusion, higher education, knowledge society, neoliberalism, university rankings
Subjects:L Social studies > L370 Social Theory
X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
L Social studies > L171 Capitalism
L Social studies > L150 Political Economics
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:25552
Deposited On:06 Jan 2017 11:51

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