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World-class universities in Russia: a contested norm and its implementation

Crowley-Vigneau, A. ORCID:, Kalyuzhnova, Y. ORCID: and Baykov, A. (2023) World-class universities in Russia: a contested norm and its implementation. Journal of Studies in International Education, 27 (3). pp. 539-556. ISSN 10283153

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/10283153221105322


So-called 'world-class universities' emerged on the global higher education scene following the Second World War. Their development in countries around the world, particularly since the early 2000s, has evolved into an international norm, although not without debate and contestation. This paper applies Constructivist theory to reflect on how local contestation affected the implementation of this norm of world-class universities in Russia, at a time when the internationalization of higher education was a national priority (i.e. before the beginning of hostilities in Ukraine). The authors employ process tracing to follow the norm from its emergence on the international stage to its contemporary adoption by Russia with Project 5-100, drawing on a case study based on 22 targeted expert interviews to identify the types and roots of resistance in Russian universities. The findings indicate that Russian contestation reflects in most cases difficulties adapting to new requirements and the fear of being left behind rather than an overall rejection of the international norm of world-class universities. The study reveals that international actors are essential not only to norm diffusion on the international stage, but also during domestic norm implementation as they are instrumental in overcoming contestation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:105733


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