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Gili S. Drori, Achim Oberg and Giuseppe Delmestri

Gili Drori, Achim Oberg, and Giuseppe Delmestri set out to identify historical trends in field-level processes of global world culture in individual organizational artifacts – university emblems. Their innovative methodology allows them to reconstruct and understand broad cultural trends and long historical changes in higher education through small, organizational-level visual icons. In addition, by tracing distributions and developments, they are able to identify period-specific cultural models and locate the individual universities within them. With their longitudinal study they add to the core concerns of institutional theory: the theory of fields, organizational roles and identities, world society theory, and to the visual and material turn in institutional analysis. In particular, they embed ‘strategic’ decisions by individual organizations in cultural and global dynamics of the organizational field, thereby institutionally ‘grounding’ their agency.