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CFP: Trade agreements and the supranational shaping of knowledge policies (ECPR 2015)

Panel title: Trade agreements and the supranational shaping of knowledge policies

Abstract: The pursuit of free trade agreements on a global, regional and bilateral level is intensifying, and increasingly these agreements are impinging on the areas of higher education and research. This panel examines the effects of casting education and research as ‘services’ from the perspective of institutions, ideas, instruments, and/or interests. Potential papers could clarify the role that free trade agreements have had on the global governance of knowledge policies and how that impacts national policymaking and sub-national actors.

The transatlantic location of this year’s ECPR conference, provides an ideal opportunity to engage with the recent Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being developed between the EU and the USA. The panel also welcomes papers which study other agreements and forums such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and the developing Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

Contributions may consider how the dual purposes of education, for employability and to enhance civil society, are brought into the foreground as nations assess their willing to cooperate across national boundaries in formal trade agreements; the consequences of treating higher education as a commodity as opposed to a public good; the role of other supranational actors, such as the World Bank, OECD, IMF, UNESCO in shaping these agreements; or the differences in perspective and interests between advanced and developing/emerging economies.

Papers may address a range of key issues including: mobility of academic workers, accreditation and standards, MOOCS and new technologies of delivery, branch campuses, mergers, mutual degree recognition, intellectual property, and effects on open access initiatives. The panel is open to researchers in all fields and welcomes both a comparative perspective and case studies on aspects of a particular agreement.

This panel is part of the section: The global governance of knowledge policies: Europe of Knowledge in context. If you have a paper you feel would fit the panel’s topic please send a 150 word abstract to Beverly Barrett ( and Mitchell Young ( by January 20th, 2015.  Given the brevity of the abstract requirement, you are welcome to provide additional information related to the paper, particularly on research methodology.

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