Engines of anxiety: Academic rankings, reputation, and accountability

Wendy Nelson Espeland*, Michael Sauder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

391 Scopus citations


We live in an era when individuals, organizations, and governments face pressing demands to be accountable. Not only do we expect actions to be transparent, we also expect them to be demonstrably transparent: the general public has the right to see disinterested evidence of performance, competence, and relative achievement. Quantitative measures seem to offer the best means to achieve these goals. They have the patina of objectivity: stripped of rhetoric and emotion, they show what is "really going on." Even more, they can reduce vast amounts of information to a figure that is easy to understand, a simplicity that intimates that there is nothing to hide, and indeed that nothing can be hidden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherRussell Sage Foundation
Number of pages281
ISBN (Electronic)9781610448567
ISBN (Print)9780871544278
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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