Ranking the World: Globalising Status Competition in International Society

14 February 2019, 16:00 - 18:00

CRASSH Meeting Room, Alison Richard Building

All are invited to join us for this event in the 'cum panis' seminar series, hosted by gloknos at CRASSH. The 'cum panis' seminars are a space to share work currently in progress and break bread (or cake!) with new intellectual companions.

In this session, Paul Beaumont (NMBU - The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, currently visiting POLIS, University of Cambridge) joins us to outline his current research 

Since the 1990s the number organizations that rank countries according to performance in social indicators has burgeoned. Yet, the political effects of rankings are poorly understood. To date, most research tends to investigate their methodological veracity rather than how to understand their influence on the social world. Addressing this lacuna, this article foregrounds the political consequences of these rankings by theorizing how presenting knowledge in rankings can engender a peculiar type of “status shock” that provides the discursive resources to legitimize policy reform. It is argued that rankings may operate as a status recognition conduit, whereby states grant it authority to allocate status in given policy fields. Problematizing status among peers in a given social hierarchy, rankings can, under some circumstances, set in motion a continuous process of status competition among the ranked. By way of illustration, the paper uses Norway’s response to the PISA education ranking to explore the mechanism through which these technologies affect their target population. The case reveals that the publication of PISA rankings in Norway induced a “status shock”, necessary to legitimate reforms and thus suggests further research is necessary to explicating when, why, and how global rankings instigate status concerns (or not).

This event is free to attend, but in order to receive the advance reading material for this session please email to confirm your attendance. 


gloknos is initially funded for 5 years by the European Research Council through a Consolidator Grant awarded to Dr.Inanna Hamati-Ataya for her project ARTEFACT (2017-2022). ARTEFACT is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (ERC grant agreement no. 724451). For information about gloknos or ARTEFACT please contact the administrator in the first instance.

Cum Panis Seminars 2018/19 6 November 2018

States of Emergence, States of Knowledge: On International Relations Theorising in Rising Powers

Peter Marcus Kristensen (University of Copenhagen)

28 January 2019

Intangible Material Culture: Technical Knowledge Transfer in Architecture

Ingrid Paoletti (Politecnico di Milano)

14 February 2019

Ranking the World: Globalising Status Competition in International Society

Paul Beaumont (NMBU - The Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

14 May 2019

The Power of Agnosis and the Politics of the Unknown

Maria Birnbaum