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Higher Education as an Institution

Working Paper

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CDDRL Working Papers

May 2006

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The university is a very highly institutionalized social form, in a global frame developed over many centuries. This helps account for some of its characteristics, as sociological institutional theory would suggest: its global standardization and spread; its extraordinary worldwide expansion in the modern period, and particularly the current "knowledge

society" period; and its success in retaining at least symbolic organizational unity. The high and fundamental institutionalization of higher education also helps explain the strength and consistency of its effects around the world, on individuals, stratification systems, and societies: higher education is a fundamental support for the expanded and globalized models of rationalized society that dominate the current world.

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