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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 13:155-166 (2014)  -  DOI:

University ranking: a dialogue on turning towards alternatives

Sarah Amsler*

Centre for Educational Research and Development, Bridge House, University of Lincoln, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: This article, written as a critical dialogue between 2 interlocutors, puts forward a number of arguments justifying and criticizing the practice of university ranking. It draws attention to 3 key problematics: the ideological construction of institutional ranking as a professionally necessary and inevitable activity, the symbolically violent character of ranking as a form of social categorization and hierarchization, and the possibility of denying the system legitimacy by practicing more prefigurative forms of its critique. Through the progression of this dialogue, the article ultimately makes a case for turning away from university rankings on both scientific and ethico-political grounds.

KEY WORDS: University ranking · Academic capitalism · Governmentality · Prefigurative politics · Symbolic violence · Denaturalization

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Cite this article as: Amsler S (2014) University ranking: a dialogue on turning towards alternatives. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 13:155-166.

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