Indicators, Rankings and the Political Economy of Academic Production in International Law
Leiden Journal of International Law, vol. 30 (2017)
11 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2017
Date Written: January 01, 2017
This paper addresses aspects of the political economy of the academic production of international law, especially at a nexus of publishing, scholarship and market practices, focusing on the increasing number and command of indicators and rankings in the field. The reduction of the perceived quality of a journal to a quantifiable equivalence evinces a mode of knowledge production that constrains the critical interlocutor of international law. Normative ordering on the basis of numerical abstractions, such as the Impact Factor and h-index, reproduces economic logics; academic production in conformance with the same reinforces the market practices with which indicators coincide, and entrenches their discontents. Furthermore, indicators and rankings evoke self-disciplining behavior in scholars and academic administrators, self-disciplining behavior which, in the field of international legal scholarship (among others) ultimately benefits the corporate entities producing the rankings and indicators for market purposes in the first place. Effected pursuant to already-existing structural inequalities, that self-disciplining behavior induces in individuals, elites and non-elites alike, their participation in an unequal distribution of values and the logics necessary to sustain the same.
Keywords: Indicators, Rankings, Political Economy, Knowledge Production, International Law
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