Measurement and Field Dynamics: The Example of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)

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Pinni B building, lecture hall B1097, address: Kanslerinrinne 1

The first Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) or Shanghai ranking came out in 2003. It was an innovation, intended to measure the performance of the best universities in the world.

In this talk, Dr Niilo Kauppi will explore the criteria that the Shanghai ranking set and the forms global competition have taken in higher education since its inception.

Its impact has been twofold. First, the Shanghai ranking gave the starting shot for a global competition between universities. Today, this competition is taken for granted. Second, it defined the rules that this competition would follow: quantification of excellence, focus on universities, on the hard sciences, and on English-language production. Ruled out were qualitative evaluation, research institutions, the soft sciences, and non-English language scientific production. These criteria have had a powerful impact on innovation governance, the strategies of universities to cope in an increasingly interconnected and competitive world, the global ranking industry of academic performance, national strategic goal setting and funding decisions, the criteria of self-evaluation of academics, etc.


The Speakers Series of the University of Tampere is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the Study of Society organized weekly by the University of Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR). The lectures are given by the Research Fellows as well as the distinguished guests of the IASR and the NSR. For the programme, please check the IASR website Most doctoral students can also get 2 ECTS for attending a minimum of six IASR Lectures, altogether 6 ECTS at the maximum. These 2 ECTS for attending 6 lectures can be earned during two successive terms.

Additional information

Research Secretary Marjukka Virkajärvi,, 050 318 6697