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CFP: Knowledge Polices and the State of Inequality: Instruments For or Against? (2016 IPSA Istanbul)

Dear all,

we are inviting you to submit a paper proposal for our panel on ‘Knowledge Policies and the State of Inequality: Instruments For or Against?’ at IPSA’s 24th World Congress of Political Science (23-28 July 2016, Istanbul, Turkey). You will find the panel abstract below.

NEW Deadline for paper submission: 14 October 2015

Instructions for paper submission: HERE

Submit paper here: LINK

Please select: (1) RC30 Comparative Public Policy for Session Type, and (2) Knowledge Policies and the State of Inequality for Requested Panel.

Do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.

Thanks and all best,

Hsuan – Hsuan [at] cantab.net

Jens – j.p.w.jungblut [at] ped.uio.no

Knowledge Polices and the State of Inequality: Instruments For or Against?

 

In a global market of higher education and innovation, where students have free access to massive open online courses (MOOCs) and where ideas are brought to the market to improve everyday life, inequality should be a thing of the past. Yet more than ever before, the gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ are growing by the day. This panel examines how policy actors – at the local, national, regional and global levels – instrumentalise knowledge policies to increase and decrease the state of inequality between citizens, between nations, and between the world’s geographical regions (North, South, East and West). We define knowledge policies broadly to include higher education, science, research and innovation policies. As a point of departure, we assume that policymaking is a complex process, involving multiple actors across governance levels with diverse interests and preferences. Instrument choice thus reflects the policy actors’ ambitions, compromises made, and the intended effects of implementation. Put simply, instrument selection is not neutral. This panel invites contributions to assess the processes leading to instrument selection, adoption, and implementation. For example, papers can address: (a) the role of discourse and ideas such as the knowledge-based society/economy, excellence, globalism, and regionalism in these processes; or (b) how policy actors and organisations strategise and interact in knowledge policymaking to contribute to the state of inequality. All accepted papers must have a clear conceptual approach, preferably supported by empirical examples beyond a single case study.

Europeanisation, Internationalisation and Higher Education Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe

Dorota Dakowska and Robert Harmsen

 

Why are Central and Eastern European countries said to be particularly exposed to European and international organizations? How did the Bologna Process become a central reference in many domestic reform projects in the region?  This special issue of the European Journal of Higher Education (Volume 5, Issue 1, 2015) aims to refine our understanding of higher education (HE) transformations in a post-authoritarian context. It further contributes to debates on Europeanization and policy transfer in the field.

This special issue brings together an international and interdisciplinary team of contributors.  Particular attention is focused on the different actors, who appropriate international norms in the cause of domestic reform, or conversely develop strategies of resistance.  The range of national and thematic case studies included, spanning both EU member states and the wider post-Soviet area, allows for the drawing of a comparatively broad-based portrait of both the ‘uses’ and the ‘users’ of international norms in domestic debates.

Central and Eastern European countries may adopt different positions facing European HE policies. Some of them eagerly adopt European policy prescriptions, while others prefer a more selective approach. In any case, the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area are noticed, debated or even integrated in domestic political games. This being said, Europe is neither the only nor necessarily the main external reference in these countries. The interplay between the different external factors and actors is also highlighted in this issue.

Background

The special issue derives from an international research collaboration, launched with a conference organised at the University of Luxembourg in November 2010 and continued with a two-year research and training project funded by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Studies and Research on Germany (CIERA): ‘Rebuilding Academia: The Transformations of Central-East European Universities since 1989’ (2011-2013). The current issue derives from a workshop held in Strasbourg in 2013 (‘Bologna and Beyond: Experts, Entrepreneurs, Users and the Internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions’). Further collaborative work was made possible owing to the funding secured through the Strasbourg School of European Studies ‘Excellence project’ and the University of Luxembourg’s ‘Global-Uni’ project (2013-16).

 

Inside the Central European Academic Laboratory

In the introductory article Dorota Dakowska and Robert Harmsen deal with higher education (HE) transformations in Central and Eastern Europe in the context of democratization and globalization. The authors briefly survey the wider canvas of reform since 1989, probing the extent to which the countries of the region may be treated as a distinctive or a cohesive group. Diverging experiences with communism, international organizations and the European Union are highlighted, while attention is also focused on the differing degrees of marketization exhibited by academic systems across the countries of region. Notwithstanding their differences, the latter emerge as distinctive ‘laboratories of reform’, privileged sites for understanding the interplay of external and domestic influences in the reshaping of the HE sector. The introduction then turns to understanding the domestic mediation of the processes of Europeanization and internationalization, identifying a series of key factors broadly discussed in terms of structures, norms and actors.

In the first article that follows, Michael Dobbins analyses developments in Polish public higher education (HE) based on historical institutionalism and organizational isomorphism. The author argues that Polish public HE has been characterized by fragmentary state-driven attempts to inject more competition into the system and altogether relative policy inertia, despite an internal and external environment which is highly conducive to policy change and in particular marketization.

The second contribution, by Ligia Deca, focuses on the uses of international norms in the Romanian higher education reforms. By focusing on three phases of policy change, the author observes when, why and by whom the international influences were strategically used in Romanian public discourse on higher education reform. She draws a balance sheet across the two decades of higher education reforms in Romania to provide insights into wider problematics of reform, Europeanization and internationalization in a context of transition and peripherality.

In the third article, Liudvika Leisyte, Rimantas Zelvys and Lina Zenkiene explore the implementation of selected Bologna action lines in Lithuanian higher education institutions (HEIs) from an organizational perspective. Although the Bologna process is likely to be normatively accepted by institutions in the context of high uncertainty, a phenomenon of national re-contextualization can be observed depending on the type of HEIs and the competitive horizons of academic disciplines.

In the fourth contribution Renáta Králiková sheds light on the domestic translation of international models basing on the Romanian and Lithuanian case of university governing boards. First, she stresses the importance of path dependent logics that go back to the transition period in the early 1990s. Second, she confirms that actors’ perceptions of institutions influence policy translation.

The fifth article written by Olga Gille-Belova, deals with the case of Belarus, which challenges the limits of the European Higher Education Area as the country is the only one that had at the time of writing not been accepted to join the Bologna Process. The contribution examines the strategic uses of the Bologna Process. The initial refusal of the Belarusian application reveals a complex interplay between the increasing importance of ‘technical’ criteria inside the EHEA and EU external policy considerations.

In her concluding comments Martina Vukasovic identifies a number of transversal themes and highlights the interplay between international, European and domestic influences on national policy changes. She then sketches a research agenda, outlines a theoretical framework and suggests topics for further research.

Dorota Dakowska is Professor of Political Science at the University of Lyon 2. She has published on EU Eastern Enlargement, German and European political foundations and the Europeanization of Polish Higher Education. Her current research project deals with the international dimension of academic reforms in Central and Eastern Europe.

Robert Harmsen is Professor of Political Science at the University of Luxembourg, where he directs the Master in European Governance. He has published extensively in the areas of European Politics and Public Policy, and is an editor of the Brill/Rodopi European Studies series. His publications include Debating Europe (Nomos, 2011; co-edited with Joachim Schild).

 

This entry was initially posted on Europe of Knowledge blog.

Invitation to support the formation of the ECPR Standing group ‘Politics of Higher Education, Research and Innovation’

We are inviting you to support the formation of the Standing Group on the ‘Politics of Higher Education, Research and Innovation’ with the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).

The Standing Group will facilitate research and debates on the politics of higher education, research and innovation around the world. It will do so by bringing together scholars at all stages of their careers from a variety of disciplines, including political science, international relations, European and area studies, research policy, higher education studies, law, and sociology of science and technology. Our intended academic activities include, for instance, engaging with the critical debates on the politics of higher education, research and innovation in practice, discussing all aspects of research (methodologies, theories, data collection, processing, and analysis), joint publishing, hosting workshops and applying for joint projects.

Please support the formation of this Standing Group by providing your endorsement here.

This initiative builds on the highly successful UACES collaborative research network on the European Research Area (ERA CRN). Since 2013, members of the ERA CRN have published several special issues and edited volumes on the politics of knowledge policies, organised a range of workshops and conference panels, as well as initiated several joint research projects. You can find more information about the ERA CRN here. The formation of the ECPR Standing Group on the Politics of Higher Education, Research and Innovation seeks to ensure the sustainability of the network’s research on the Europe of Knowledge as well as its expansion to include the politics of knowledge policies from around the world.

If you have any questions about the Standing Group, please contact any of the co-convenors:

Hsuan: menghsuan.chou [at] gmail.com

Inga: ingaulnicane [at] gmail.com

Mitchell: young.mitchell [at] gmail.com

Europe of Knowledge in Context (ECPR 2015)

Beverly Barrett

Last week we convened in Montreal, Canada for the 9th general conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), which took place from 26-29 August at University of Montreal. This was the first general conference of the ECPR to take place outside of Europe, and the francophone region of Quebec welcomed participants from around the world. The conference program included 59 sections, 372 panels and 1430 papers.

Mitchell Young and Meng-Hsuan Chou (Photo Credit: Mari Elken)

Mitchell Young and Meng-Hsuan Chou (Photo Credit: Mari Elken)

The Global Governance of Knowledge Policies: Europe of Knowledge in Context was the title of the Section 54. This section was organized by the UACES’s European Research Area – Collaborative Research Network (ERA-CRN) and co-chaired by Meng-Hsuan Chou (Nanyang Technological University in Singapore) and Mitchell Young (Charles University in Prague) who facilitated the nine panels among research and higher education policy scholars.

An overview of some of the panel topics includes Regionalism and multi-level governance of higher education and research. This panel made comparisons between the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) of the Bologna Process and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) higher education policies on degree compatibility, quality assurance, and recognition of degrees. Global collaboration and competition in science, technology and innovation addressed international initiatives for research policy across countries in Europe and beyond.

CRN meeting (Photo Credit: Mari Elken)

CRN meeting (Photo Credit: Mari Elken)

The panel Researching the governance of knowledge policies: methodological and conceptual challenges made further comparisons among countries engaging in research innovation and explored ways to avoid methodological nationalism. The panel Trade agreements and the supranational shaping of knowledge policies discussed the progress of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations while explaining the relationship to the services sector of higher education. Themes on higher education governance, international cooperation in education, and research policies were dominant throughout the session over three days. All panels were well-attended and led to lively, high-quality discussions.

Participants at the Transnational Actor panel (Photo Credit: Mari Elken)

Participants at the Ideas panel (Photo Credit: Mari Elken)

Next year the 10th general conference of the ECPR will take place in Prague, Czech Republic at Charles University from September 7 to 10, 2016. We welcome scholars at various stages in their careers to participate in the ECPR and the ERA-CRN workshops and activities in the future. At the moment the network is preparing an application for the ECPR Standing Group ‘Politics of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation’; if you would like to join, please sign up here.