The Center-Periphery Axis in Global Higher Education: Ranking & The Case of Eastern Europe

Mark D. Juszczak [1]

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.10291126


[1] Prof. St Johns University, New York, USA, ORCID: 0000-0003-1594-1615, e-mail:


The ‘top 100’ global university ranking systems are dominated by American and Western European universities. While there are many ranking systems currently in use, and while there is considerable variance within the top 100 – one pattern remains evident – the United States dominates global university rankings with Western Europe close behind. Although there is considerable debate within the university ranking community about the ‘best’ way to rank global universities, there is little research done on ranking systems as a form of global epistemic violence. Epistemic violence refers to any system that uses the legitimization of knowledge as a form of domination. Where epistemic violence is studied is almost exclusively in the domain of post-colonial higher education systems or as a way to frame scholarship about the global south. However, it appears that Eastern European universities are equally subject to a form of epistemic violence in the biases of current university ranking algorithms. This study attempts to uncover biases in ranking systems within the context of what Bourdieu would define as a global center/periphery system of knowledge production. The primary hypothesis of this study is that global ranking systems use algorithms that reinforce the current center-periphery model of Western universities and systems of knowledge production and transmission being ‘better’.

Keywords: Eastern Europe, HE, University Rankings, Power, Violence, Discrimination, Capitalism.


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