22 SES 07 D, Responding to Theoretical, Analytical and Methodological Challenges in Higher Education Research- Alternative Approaches
This contribution considers international university rankings as emerging institutions that are shaping governance and behaviour in higher education. Rankings can be understood as political mechanisms and instruments; understanding the politics behind them helps to outline the legitimation strategies of each ranking organisation. This study, drawing on interviews conducted with key informants and an running organisational ethnography at the Times Higher Education rankings, also explores the growing importance of geopolitical factors in rankings and the dynamic relationship between the ‘competitive state’, university rankings, and higher education governance. It proposes how to understand the role of rankings in the changing nature of university missions and higher education in general within the growing discourse of the ‘global knowledge economy’ race.
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