chapter  2
Prestige and the organisation
Pages 22

This chapter outlines some aspects of prestige: some of the ways in which organisations can be viewed and the kinds of capital associated with them, and the organisational levels at which prestige may be said to work. It also outlines the relationship between identity and capital; various kinds of capital, including social capital, and the possibilities of holding capital in common. The chapter considers these issues, guided by what has been written about prestige and about related issues such as motivation. National systems, institutions, departments and individual lives provide a structural context for academic work and prestige, suggesting organisational levels at which any of the metaphors may be useful. An institution is in a national prestige economy, represented through league tables that purport to bring objectivity to judgements about overall institutional quality. In UK higher education, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) for assessing the quality of research confers immense prestige on institutions, and individual academic staff, withholding it from others.