Higher Education

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 281–309 | Cite as

Beyond national states, markets, and systems of higher education: A glonacal agency heuristic

  • Simon Marginson
  • Gary Rhoades


This paper offers an overarching analyticalheuristic that takes us beyond currentresearch, anchored in conceptions of nationalstates, markets, and systems of highereducation institutions. We seek to shapecomparative higher education research withregard to globalization in much the same waythat Clark's (1983) ``triangle'' heuristic hasframed comparative higher education research inthe study of national policies and highereducation systems. Our ``glonacal agencyheuristic'' points to three intersecting planesof existence, emphasizing the simultaneoussignificance of global, national, and localdimensions and forces. It combines the meaningof ``agency'' as an established organization withits meaning as individual or collective action. Our paper critiques the prevailing framework incross-national higher education research,addressing the liberal theory that underpinsthis framework, the ways scholars address therise of neo-liberal policies internationally,conceptual shortcomings of this work, andemergent discourse about ``academic capitalism''. We then discuss globalization and ourheuristic. Finally, we provide examples of howstates, markets, and institutions can bereconceptualized in terms of global, national,regional, and local agencies and agency.

academic capitalism comparative education globalization markets methodologies nation-state neo-liberalism 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Marginson
    • 1
  • Gary Rhoades
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityAustralia
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Higher Education, College of EducationUniversity of ArizonaTusconUSA

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