The Question of World University Rankings, Or: On the Challenges Facing Contemporary Higher Education Systems
Keywords:globalization, universities, scientometry, ranking, anthropology of education, anthropology of science, methodology
In the context of the interrelatedness of the general methodology of science and the methodology of ethnology and anthropology, on the one hand, and the subject of research of the anthropology of science and the anthropology of education, on the other, as exemplified by the current European and Serbian university reforms, the paper considers one of the fundamental consequences of globalization – the increasing need to compare things on a global level. Comparison often involves the reduction of phenomena to just a few features, preferably those that are easily quantifiable. The increasingly popular, and politically increasingly relevant, world unversity rankings are a case in point. By highlighting the phenomenon of the reduction of comparison to competition and the rehabilitation of positivism, the paper explores the way in which the reduction of criteria for „quality control“ and „determining the excellence“ of institutions of higher education through their ranking leads to the possibly irreversible reconceptualization of the concept of higher education, i.e. of the parameters that define it.
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