Volume 2, Issue 3 (SEPTEMBER ISSUE 2021)                   johepal 2021, 2(3): 30-56 | Back to browse issues page

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Davarpanah S H, Hoveida R, Barnett R, Javdani H, Jamshidian A. Ritualism as a Form of Academic Malfunctioning: Iranian Higher Education as a Case Study. johepal. 2021; 2 (3) :30-56
URL: http://johepal.com/article-1-127-en.html
Abstract:   (818 Views)
Today, the Iranian higher education (IHE) exhibits a paradox. Despite the rapid growth of the higher education system and pervasion of the university institution in Iran, and notwithstanding the increasing number of higher education institutions/students/graduates, and research projects, and the improved position of Iranian universities in international ranking systems, there are concerns about the inefficiency of the university system. It seems that the university in Iran has deviated from its institutional functions and has become afflicted with anomie and malfunctioning and, as Merton (1938) puts it, presents a kind of ritualism. Accordingly, this paper reports on a qualitative study of ritualism in Iranian higher education. The central finding is that ritualism is significantly present in IHE, and especially in research. This ritualism is manifested in 3 domains of causes, indicators and consequences. The findings indicate that indicators of ritualism in IHE: such as quantitativism, certificationism, scientific fashion, and symbolism have resulted in false branding, academic corruption, and system inefficiency. These phenomena have taken root in the universities, albeit influenced by the external environment. Overall, a certain group of factors is suggested as leading to academic ritualism: lack of academic independence, commercialization, international norms (language and ranking systems), and institutional norms (reward systems, hierarchy based on non-academic discourse, and symbolic violence). Such a pattern amounts to a serious malfunctioning of the higher education system.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2021/08/22 | Accepted: 2021/09/28 | Published: 2021/09/30

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