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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The World Bank, support for universities, and asymmetrical power relations in international development

  • Author(s): Collins, Christopher S.
  • Rhoads, Robert A.
  • et al.

This article examines the role of the World Bank in advancing higher education sectors in the developing world, considering in particular the increasing power and strength of a global knowledge-based economy. Given the powerful role that intergovernmental organizations such as the World Bank play in shaping global economic policies, the authors are concerned about how the Bank’s policies and actions may limit knowledge generation and capacity building of universities in the developing world. Relatedly, the authors use case studies of the Bank’s involvement in Thailand and Uganda to better understand the role it plays in producing and reproducing forms of global hegemony. The authors discuss hegemony in terms of neocolonialism and neoliberalism. Neocolonialism is described as forms of domination advanced by powerful nations and their institutions, while neoliberalism is understood as an economic ideology by which weaker nations may be brought into greater alignment with global trade initiatives.

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