Save today: Get 40% off titles in Popular Science!

Evaluating Education: Normative Systems and Institutional Practices
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

World Class Universities

A Contested Concept

Editors: Rider, S.P., Peters, M.A., Hyvönen, M., Besley, T. (Eds.)

Free Preview
  • Integrates a broad array of conceptual, theoretical and empirical analyses of The World Class University from the humanities and social sciences
  • Pays specific attention to current and emerging educational competitiveness strategies in China and the Global South
  • Considers different ideals and concrete plans of action for achieving a higher education system that is truly world-class
see more benefits

Buy this book

  • ISBN 978-981-15-7598-3
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on
Hardcover 51,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
About this book

This open access book focuses on the dimensions of the discourse of 'The World Class University', its alleged characteristics, and its policy expressions. It offers a broad overview of the historical background and current trajectory of the world-class-university construct. It also deepens the theoretical discussion, and points a way forward out of present impasses resulting from the pervasive use and abuse of the notion of "world-class" and related terms in the discourse of quality assessment. The book includes approaches and results from fields of inquiry not otherwise prominent in Higher Education studies, including philosophy and media studies, as well as sociology, anthropology, educational theory.
The growing impact of global rankings and their strategic use in the restructuring of higher education systems to increase global competitiveness has led to a ‘reputation race’ and the emergence of the global discourse of world class universities. The discourse of world class universities has rapid uptake in East Asian countries, with China recently refining its strategy. This book provides insights into this process and its future development.

About the authors

Sharon Rider is Professor of Philosophy at Uppsala University, specializing on the cultural conditions for knowledge and rational agency. She was Vice Dean of the Faculty of Arts 2008-2014, and is currently Deputy Director of the Swedish Research Council-funded Engaging Vulnerability Program. Rider is on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Swedish International Cooperation Agency, and a member of the Royal Society of Humanities. In 2015, she was the first recipient of the HumTank award for significant contribution to the humanities. 
Michael A. Peters, FRSNZ is Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University, P.R. China and Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, USA. He is editor-in-chief of Educational Philosophy and Theory and Beijing International Review of Education, and founding editor of six international journals. His interests are the intersections of philosophy, education and political economy and he has written over 100 books, including works on Wittgenstein, Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard. He was awarded honorary doctorates by State University of New York in 2012 and University of Aalborg in 2015. 
Mats Hyvönen is a Media and Communications scholar at Uppsala University and research coordinator for the Engaging Vulnerability Research Program. Specializing in media history, he is interested in the vulnerability of the public sphere and how media both feed and resist that vulnerability. Mats is currently conducting research on contemporary and historical links between journalism and academic scholarship.
Tina Besley is a Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Education at Beijing Normal University, P.R. China. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK; of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia, and the Association for Visual Pedagogies. Tina is deputy editor for Educational Philosophy and Theory, associate editor for the Beijing International Review of Education and is Project Manager for PESA Agora.  She is Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia Past President and Founding President of the Association for Visual Pedagogies.

Table of contents (16 chapters)

Table of contents (16 chapters)
  • Welcome to the World Class University: Introduction

    Pages 1-8

    Rider, Sharon (et al.)

  • Disorderly Identities: University Rankings and the Re-ordering of the Academic Mind

    Pages 11-24

    Nixon, Jon

  • Becoming World Class: What It Means and What It Does

    Pages 25-40

    Benner, Mats

  • Three Notions of the Global

    Pages 41-55

    Rider, Sharon

  • The Kafkaesque Pursuit of ‘World Class’: Audit Culture and the Reputational Arms Race in Academia

    Pages 59-76

    Shore, Cris (et al.)

Buy this book

  • ISBN 978-981-15-7598-3
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on
Hardcover 51,99 €
price for Spain (gross)

Recommended for you


Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
World Class Universities
Book Subtitle
A Contested Concept
  • Sharon P. Rider
  • Michael A. Peters
  • Mats Hyvönen
  • Tina Besley
Series Title
Evaluating Education: Normative Systems and Institutional Practices
Springer Singapore
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
Hardcover ISBN
Series ISSN
Edition Number
Number of Pages
X, 289
Number of Illustrations
13 b/w illustrations