“Between Global Reputation and Local Distinction: Japan and World University Rankings”

Presenter: Mayumi Ishikawa


The study critically analyzes the tension between a new system of significance embodied in global university rankings and conventional local academic hierarchy in Japan, i.e. a long-standing stratification mechanism based on enrollment selectivity and competitiveness. Based on a case study of Japanese research universities, it argues that the two systems, though seemingly reinforcing each other, are incompatible rather than complementary. They address divergent, at times contradictory needs and values of global and local actors. The policymaker’s recent endorsement of global rankings as a national policy goal increases such tension. The study thus assesses a cost of global fame for local academic value and its sustainability.

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