chapter  8
8 Pages

Universities and globalization: models and countermodels

ByMarwan M. Kraidy

If, as Arjun Appadurai wrote a few years ago, “there is a growing disjuncture between the globalization of knowledge and the knowledge of globalization,”1 then the university is at the center of that disjuncture. Whereas the knowledge of globalization has proceeded briskly over the past decade, with interest in globalization so intense that Immanual Wallerstein described it as a “recent furor in the social sciences and humanities,”2 spawning important research centers, pivotal conferences, and seminal books published in North America, the globalization of knowledge proceeds slowly and unevenly, with relatively little knowledge production emerging outside North America and Western Europe. As a result, we are in a situation where the question of whether there has been a real change since the heyday of modernization theory, when “theory and method were seen as naturally metropolitan, modern and Western” and “the rest of the world was seen in the idiom of cases, events, examples and test sites … ,”3 will continue to haunt us. Because the answer to this query informs our understanding of the disjuncture articulated by Appadurai, the positioning of the West and the “Rest” within the hierarchy of knowledge production – the former providing broad frameworks to understand the world; the latter merely offering complementary data to support those frameworks – drives the vexed relation between the university and globalization.4