Global, National and Local? The Multilayered Spatial Ties of Universities to Society

  • Anna KosmützkyEmail author
  • Amy Ewen
Part of the The Changing Academy – The Changing Academic Profession in International Comparative Perspective book series (CHAC, volume 15)


In this chapter, we analyse the spatial ties of universities to society on the basis of institutional profiles and two comparative case studies of German universities. While institutional profiles, which provide snapshots of institutional realities, depict our two universities clearly as dichotomous globally and regionally oriented, the comparative case studies reveal that this juxtaposition is blurred in the perception of university members, particularly university leaders. Universities are organizations that sustain different layers of spatial orientation – local/regional, national and global. Even in an age of globalization and pervasive global interconnectedness, in which the international dimension of university research is emphasized more than ever, the local and regional grounding of universities remains warranted by their so-called third mission and the exigencies of teaching. Therefore, the spatial ties of universities are best described as a shell model of spatial interactions. A focal dominant horizon of a university’s institutional profile coexists with spatial orientations on variegated levels within the organization.


Glocalization Glonacal agency Competitive horizons Spatial ties Comparative case studies University profiles Universities Germany 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Center for Higher Education ResearchKassel UniversityKasselGermany
  2. 2.Johnson and Wales UniversityProvidenceUSA

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