Global Stratification in Higher Education

  • Simon MarginsonEmail author
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 45)


Global higher education can be understood as a field of power configured by (1) nationally-ordered higher education systems; (2) global structures that criss-cross all national systems, for example in English language scientific research and academic publishing; and (3) growing cross-border movement and engagement between national systems. Universities in the Anglo-American countries, especially the United States, play the leading role in global higher education, dominating the lists of top research producers, attracting almost half of all cross-border students, and modelling higher education on the basis of norms installed through competitive global ranking systems, which exercise an increasing disciplinary potency in national policy and university strategy. At the same time, there are signs of a global pluralization of capacity and perhaps identity in higher education: student participation is growing rapidly in most countries with a per capita income of more than about $3000 per annum, indigenous scientific output is produced in an increasing number of countries, the leading European research universities are strengthening their relative position in global tables, and universities in East Asia (especially China), and to a lesser extent Latin America and the Middle East/North Africa, exercise an expanding role at world level. Aside from Japan the East Asian systems are exceptionally dynamic at this time.


Globalization Stratification of higher education Competition in higher education World-Class Universities Global university rankings Research Participation in higher education Positional goods 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

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