The Emergent Action Field of Metrics: From Rankings to Altmetrics

The University Under Pressure

ISBN: 978-1-78560-831-5, eISBN: 978-1-78560-830-8

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 5 February 2016


Much has been analyzed regarding the origins and the impact of rankings and metrics on policies, behaviors, and missions of universities. Surprisingly, little attention has been allocated to describing and analyzing the emergence of metrics as a new action field. This industry, fueled by the “new public management” policy perspectives that operate at the backstage of the contemporary pervasive “regime of excellence,” still remains a black box worth exploring in depth. This paper intends to fill this loophole. It first sets the stage for this new action field by stressing the differences between the policy fields of higher education in the United States and Europe, as a way to understand the specificities of the use of metrics and rankings on both continents. The second part describes the actors of the field, which productive organizations they build, what skills they combine, which products they put on the market, and their shared norms and audiences.



Catherine Paradeise and Ghislaine Filliatreau (2016). 'The Emergent Action Field of Metrics: From Rankings to Altmetrics', The University Under Pressure (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 46). Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 87-128

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