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On the performativity of university ranking lists: commodity aesthetics and looping
University of Borås, School of Education and Behavioural Science.
2012 (Swedish)In: The university: An institution of Society, 2012, 77-79 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In focus of this keynote is the performativity of university rankings. I will present and discuss how different kinds of university rankings are constructed and their specific ways of understanding and presenting higher education and research. Here I will focus on their one-dimensionality and potential bias in ambitions to capture the academia in terms of ranking as presented by the Shanghai ranking list ”Academic Ranking of World Universities, and the World University Ranking lists – presented by Times Higher Education (THE) and Quaquarelli Symonds (QS) respectively. I will also put forwards some features of the Webometrics list. In relation to this I will also deal with the multidimensional ranking of higher education institutions the so called U-multirank that now is under construction with the support of the European Commission. A first point to be made is that university ranking is a way to transform the multitude of university qualities in education and research, as well as engagement in social activities, into a political economy of easily visible ranking positions (jfr Marginson, 2009) presenting the higher education institutions as comparable units in one or more dimensions. Academic activities are translated into a set of comparable indictors who in turn are conceived of as presenting the exchange-value of specific HEIs. A second point is that this political economy is biased – standards are set by a number of indicators favoring certain kinds of higher education activities predominant in certain Anglo-Saxon universities. These two points concern how ranking lists represent higher education and research institutions. A third point concerns if such a representation matter? An explicit idea of ranking lists is that they should have an impact on higher education institutions for university clients as well as for university governance. I will discuss such potential performative qualities with looping implications (Hacking, 2004) for higher education research. Here I will be informed by a current study in Sweden by Sundén (in process) inspired by Espeland & Sauder, (2007) and Hazelkorn (2009) of how Swedish Vice-chancellors are acting upon international university ranking lists.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. 77-79 p.
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-6918Local ID: 2320/11808ISBN: 978-84-9921-300-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-6918DiVA: diva2:887625
Conference
CIDU conference in Barcelona, July 2012
Note
A keynote given at the symposium “Use and Abuse of International University Rankings ”. Barcelona July 2012Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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