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CFP: Researching the governance of knowledge policies: methodological and conceptual challenges (ECPR 2015)

Panel title: Researching the governance of knowledge policies: methodological and conceptual challenges

Abstract: Studies on research policy and higher education often take the nation state as a starting point for analysis. Single country case studies and comparisons between individual countries seem to be the most common approaches. At the same time, governance of knowledge policies increasingly takes place in the context of globalisation and regional integration, and is of interest to various international organisations. In Europe, this shift is manifest in the focus on Europe of Knowledge. The question then is: how meaningful this single country approach is in an increasingly interconnected world? Do we end up in ‘methodological nationalism’ and/or eurocentrism if our point of departure is the nation state and/or Europe? Are there alternative methodologies to be used, and if so – what would this mean for these studies?

This panel invites papers focused on questions such as: Which role does the nation state actually play in studies of higher education and research policy, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach? Which units should we focus on if we want to avoid methodological nationalism and eurocentrism on the one hand but still on the other hand want to compare different policy designs of higher education and research policy? Are there sector-specific conceptual challenges for researching governance of knowledge in a multi-level policy context? What are the consequences of this for both research design and methodology? Furthermore, what kind of differences in terms of methodology, research design etc. can be identified between higher education and research policy studies?

Papers for this panel could e.g. examine the methodologies used in higher education and research policy studies – empirically and/or theoretically, including focus on comparative designs. Papers could also discuss the use of other entities than the nation state: institutions, regions, traditions, ideas, cultures etc.

To propose a paper for this panel please send an abstract of 500 – 1000 words until January 20th 2015 to Mads Sørensen (mps@ps.au.dk), Mari Elken (mari.elken@nifu.no). The abstract should include the research aim, the conceptual approach, the case(s) studied as well as potential methods and data. The panel chairs will then assess the proposals until January 30th 2015 and propose the panel en bloc to the section chairs. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact Mads Sørensen and Mari Elken.

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