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Panel: Transnational actors in knowledge policies – ideas, interests and institutions
- Co-chairs: Tatiana Fumasoli (University of Oslo) – email@example.com and Martina Vukasovic (Ghent University) – Martina.Vukasovic@ugent.be
- Co-discussants (TBC): Åse Gornitzka (University of Oslo) and Simona Piattoni (Universty of Trento and University of Agder)
Apart from supranational and intergovernmental dynamics, European knowledge policy-making is marked also by a transnational dimension related to the involvement of non-state actors in decision-making (Elken & Vukasovic, 2014; Fumasoli, 2015b; Piattoni, 2010). These non-state actors are often organized across nation-states and include both collective actors – academic and university associations (e.g. European Academies, European University Association), students and staff unions (e.g. European Students Union, Education International), funding and quality assurance agencies (e.g. European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) – and individuals (experts and individuals working for the collective actors).
Some of these are, in organizational studies’ terminology, meta-organizations (organizations of organizations) with complex internal structures, membership and identity (Ahrne & Brunsson, 2008). We consider meta-organizations those organizations that have institutional membership exclusively, or have institutional membership along with individual membership. In political science, such organizations are considered to be interest groups, organizations with an explicit political mandate to influence decision-makers at various governance levels (Beyers, Eising, & Maloney, 2008). They are often seen as spokespersons of the various stakeholders, expected to increase the legitimacy of decisions made (Moravcsik, 2002; Neave & Maassen, 2007). In addition, these organizations provide communication platforms and can act as sites of social learning and persuasion about appropriateness of specific ideas, norms and values, thus facilitating cross-national policy platform and socialization of actors (Checkel, 2003; Voegtle, Knill, & Dobbins, 2011). A perspective from the sociology of professions characterizes these transnational organizations as pursuing professional development, protecting their professional jurisdiction, and fostering their professional identity (Freidson, 2001; Larson, 2013). Those are traditionally structured around scientists- and scholars’ individual membership, and focus on a distinctive discipline. However these organizations might display multiple types of membership as well (Fumasoli, 2015a), and might activate themselves as interest groups, insofar they consider that their concerns need to be addressed in policy arenas (Truman, 1993 cited in Beyers et al., 2008, p. 1107).
Apart from operating across nation-states, these actors also operate across governance levels (e.g. European and national, federal and state), bringing new ideas, advancing the interests of their constituencies and re-shaping the institutional arrangements of policy-making in the area of knowledge. As such, they are uniquely positioned to influence policy formation (including agenda-setting, policy design and policy-decision), as well as policy implementation and policy evaluation.
Yet, despite their important role in governance and societal dynamics in general, such organizations have been the focus of rather limited scholarly interest thus far. The panel welcomes papers exploring how these emerging actors participate in the policy arena and what impact they may have on policy decisions across governance levels. Theoretical and methodological approaches should be clearly presented in the abstract and elaborated on in the paper.
Ahrne, G., & Brunsson, N. (2008). Meta-organizations. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Beyers, J., Eising, R., & Maloney, W. (2008). Researching Interest Group Politics in Europe and Elsewhere: Much We Study, Little We Know? West European Politics, 31(6), 1103-1128. doi: 10.1080/01402380802370443
Checkel, J. T. (2003). “Going native” in Europe? Theorizing social interaction in European institutions. Comparative Political Studies, 36(1-2), 209-231.
Elken, M., & Vukasovic, M. (2014). Dynamics of voluntary policy coordination: the case of Bologna Process. In M.-H. Chou & Å. Gornitzka (Eds.), The Europe of Knowledge: Comparing Dynamics of Integration in Higher Education and Research Policies (pp. 131-159). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Freidson, E. (2001). Professionalism : the third logic: Cambridge : Polity.
Fumasoli, T. (2015a). European academic associations: mapping their characteristics, capacity and institutional embedding – preliminary work. Paper presented at the CHEGG seminar, Ghent University.
Fumasoli, T. (2015b). Multi-level governance in higher education. In J. Huisman, H. de Boer, D. D. Dill & M. Souto-Otero (Eds.), The Palgrave International Handbook of Higher Education Policy and Governance (pp. 76-94). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Larson, M. S. (2013). The rise of professionalism : monopolies of competence and sheltered markets. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
Moravcsik, A. (2002). Reassessing Legitimacy in the European Union. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 40(4), 603-624. doi: 10.1111/1468-5965.00390
Neave, G., & Maassen, P. (2007). The Bologna Process: An Intergovernmental Policy Perspective. In P. Maassen & J. P. Olsen (Eds.), University Dynamics and European Integration (Vol. 19, pp. 135-153). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
Piattoni, S. (2010). The theory of multi-level governance: conceptual, empirical, and normative challenges. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Voegtle, E. M., Knill, C., & Dobbins, M. (2011). To what extent does transnational communication drive cross-national policy convergence? The impact of the Bologna process on domestic higher education policies. Higher Education, 61(1), 77-94. doi: 10.1007/s10734-010-9326-6
This panel is proposed for the 2016 ECPR Section (7-10 September 2016, Prague). If you are interested in participating in this panel please get in touch with the co-chairs.
CFP: Complexity and the politics of knowledge policies: multi-issue, multi-level and multi-actor (2016 RCPP)
Conference: 2016 HKU-USC-IPPA Conference on Public Policy
When: 10-11 June 2016
Where: Hong Kong
Deadline for paper proposal: 30 January 2016
How & where to submit: select T03P05 and upload your proposal at http://www.socsc.hku.hk/webforms/cpphk-paper-proposal-submission-theme3/
If you have any questions, please contact:
Meng-Hsuan Chou (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jens Jungblut (email@example.com)
Pauline Ravinet (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Martina Vukasovic (email@example.com)
Complexity and the politics of knowledge policies: multi-issue, multi-level and multi-actor
The complexity of policy processes and the relationship between instrument choice and impact have always intrigued scholars of politics, public policy, and public administration. Indeed, complexity constitutes a key element in established public policy theoretical frameworks such as punctuated equilibrium, multiple streams, and is at the core of Lindblom’s science of ‘muddling through’. In recent years, policy scholars such as Cairney and Geyer have pushed for embracing complexity as a foundation and starting point for policy analysis. These scholars advocate a ‘complexity theory’ approach that enables researchers to attend to both top-down as well as bottom-up dynamics, interests and behaviour of various actors, and how policy ideas, goals and instruments are interpreted and transformed during the policy process.
This panel engages with the complexity approach in public policy through the case of knowledge policy, which refers to basic and applied research, innovation, and higher education. The issues at the core of these policy areas are cross-cutting, which means that their governance does not neatly fall into one single policy domain (multi-issue). Indeed, they often require collaboration across multiple policy sectors as the different aspects of knowledge policies are under jurisdiction of different ministries (multi-actor). Due to increasing processes of international and subnational coordination, developments in the knowledge policy domain are a multi-level endeavour. The case of knowledge policy thus offers a promising empirical avenue to explore the key concepts at the heart of ‘complexity theory’, as well as a bridge for interdisciplinary theoretical exchanges.
We seek submissions that address cross-cutting issues in the knowledge policy domains and the multi-actor and multi-level policy processes involved. Submissions are invited from all theoretical schools using quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methods approaches, but should demonstrate a good conceptual understanding of the complexity of knowledge policies with a clear empirical, preferably comparative, focus.
Panel: Policy failures in the knowledge domain
- Chair/discussant: Meng-Hsuan Chou (NTU, Singapore) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Higher education, research, and innovation policy domains have undergone dramatic changes in recent decades. Embedded in these changes are assumptions about failure and learning, and the belief that the ‘new and novel’ would ‘right’ the ‘wrongs’. Yet our understanding of the failure-learning mechanism remains under-developed. Indeed, social scientists often conflate three distinct types of failure—politics, policy, and instruments—in their analyses.
The consequences of failure also remain an on-going question. Do all failures lead to sizeable policy change or to less dramatic reforms or tinkering? Or to no actions at all? While spectacular policy failures are historically memorable, the subtle failures that trigger incremental changes, or indeed the acknowledgement of their very existence, are less examined. For instance, what are the modes of institutional change? To what extent do these changes lead to reform?
The above observations raise several questions about failures and learning in knowledge policymaking which scholars of public policy, comparative politics, international relations, and social sciences in general have only begun to address. These include, but are not limited to: why do some policy failures lead to institutional collapse or abandonment of policy ideas, while others do not? Indeed, why are some policy ideas more sticky than others? To what extent do policy failures shape the institutional design of international, regional, and national, and sub-national decision-making? Is there a cycle of failure and learning involved in the everyday functioning of political and knowledge institutions (e.g. universities and research institutes)? And, if so, how do we first detect and then determine which ‘failure-learning’ mechanism is weak and which one is robust?
This panel invites papers that seek to identify and unpack the failure-learning mechanism operational in specific knowledge policy changes. It welcomes a diversity of approaches – qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods – from all scholars and practitioners interested in the above questions.
This panel is proposed for the 2016 ECPR Section (7-10 September 2016, Prague). Please contact the panel chair before 24 January 2016 with your abstract (300 words) if you are interested in submitting a paper for this panel.
Panel: Applying complex systems theory to higher education and research policy
- Co-chairs/Co-discussants: Mitchell Young (Charles University in Prague) – email@example.com and Julie Birkholz (University of Ghent) –firstname.lastname@example.org
Describing political and policy phenomena as complex has become commonplace; however, most often the term is used generally without reference to the scientific study of complex systems. Recently several authors have sought to chart out ways by which to apply complexity theory to public policy (Morcol 2012, Room 2011); however, there is still very little being done with these theories and concepts in the areas of higher education and research.
Papers in this panel may take either a qualitative or quantitative approach, but will all rigorously attempt to apply key concepts in complex systems theory (emergence, tipping points, non-linear dynamics, self-organization, fitness landscapes, co-evolution, etc.) to the study of higher education and/or research.
This panel is proposed for the 2016 ECPR Section (7-10 September 2016, Prague). If you are interested in participating in this panel please send the panel co-chairs a 500 word abstract by January 24th. If you have questions or would like to run ideas past them in advance, please feel free to contact either or both of them.
CFP: Researching the governance of knowledge policies: methodological and conceptual challenges (2016 ECPR)
Panel: Researching the governance of knowledge policies: methodological and conceptual challenges
- Co-chairs/Co-discussants: Mads Sørensen (Aarhus University) – email@example.com and Mari Elken (NIFU) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Research and higher education policy studies often take the 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, supranational and transnational organisations. Furthermore, new linkages are developed on sub-national level – in the form of various networks and co-operation constellations. Overall, one can find new forms of vertical and horizontal coordination in the area of knowledge policies. The question then is: how meaningful this single country approach is in an increasingly interconnected world? Does this lead to ‘methodological nationalism’ and limit the scope of analysis? Are there alternative conceptual and methodological approaches to be used, and if so – what would this mean?
We invite papers that examine (empirically, theoretically) the role of the nation state as well as inter-, trans-, supra- and sub-national arenas in knowledge policy studies. We aim to identify sector-specific methodological and conceptual challenges and highlight alternative (multi-level) approaches and foci.
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 other units could 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 kind of conceptual challenges emerge in studying knowledge policies and linkages across levels and arenas? What are the appropriate approaches and designs for studying increased horizontal and vertical coordination? Where are existing conceptual blind spots? What are the consequences of this for both research design and methodology? What kind of differences in terms of methodology, research design etc. can be identified between higher education and research policy studies? What are the benefits and disadvantages of such approaches?
Papers at this panel could discuss the use of alternative entities than the nation state, including institutions, regions, networks, traditions, ideas, cultures etc. Papers for this panel could also examine the methodologies used in higher education and research policy studies – empirically and/or theoretically, including focus on comparative designs. Suggestions for innovative research designs are also welcome.
This panel is proposed for the 2016 ECPR Section (7-10 September 2016, Prague). Please contact the panel co-chairs before 24 January 2016 if you are interested in submitting a paper for this panel.
Panel: Politics of Access in Higher Education Systems
- Co-chairs: Beverley Barrett, University of Houston (email@example.com) and Karel Sima, Centre for Higher Education Studies, Czech Republic (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Expectations for greater access to higher education systems have followed trends reflecting an increasing number of democratic countries in recent decades. Given the acceleration of globalization, with pressure for greater access to higher education, the politics of access for domestic and international students remains contentious for entry into competitive academic programs worldwide. Considering the power of ideas, interests, and institutions, how do specific national goals and policy strategies to increase educational access compare across countries and across regions? In which countries and regions are trends for increasing educational access most innovative and most effective?
We invite contributions that compare and examine the extent to which these higher education access initiatives, across continents, support learning objectives and graduation outcomes that are innovative and effective supporting employability. In recent years, we have observed a proliferation of national and regional strategies for increasing access to higher education around the world: in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Europe. The European drive to consolidate the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), since the early 2000s, has higher education attainment as an explicit objective.
This panel focuses on questions that address how national policy strategies on access confront current issues and developing trends. What are the higher education policies to accommodate domestic and international students towards the goal of increasing access? What are innovative and effective policy instruments, and what have been their impacts across countries and continents? How do unique actors (governments, institutions, academics, students etc.) actively engage in decision-making processes in complex multi-actor environments reflecting distinct preferences and goals?
The wave of higher education expansion in Western world in the 20th century was fuelled by the population growth of post-war baby boomers. This resulted in mass higher education systems in most of the European and American countries. Consequently the student populations have substantially changed reflecting sociocultural diversity. Furthermore, internationalisation has become an objective for higher education in the 21st century in the EHEA and across continents. These trends have changed not only the form and content of higher education, but also education’s role in the knowledge-based economy and society.
The international mobility of students in higher education continues to accelerate. Countries seek to retain talented students, supporting objectives towards national competitiveness, while being open to global talent, overlapping with objectives for internationalisation. As countries become more developed, access issues continue to become more pressing within a knowledge-driven economy. Developing economies that can accommodate increased access to education, at every level, are investing invaluable knowledge creation that leads to productivity.
This panel addresses trends for increasing educational access, identifying innovative and effective national policy strategies that address challenges of the internationalised mass higher education of the 21st century. We invite contributions that would analyse these trends on various levels of governance, and from perspectives of multiple actors, as well as those that employ a comparative approach on international, institutional, and disciplinary levels.
This panel is proposed for the 2016 ECPR Section (7-10 September 2016, Prague). Please contact the panel co-chairs before 24 January 2016 if you are interested in submitting a paper for this panel.
This is a global call for the ECPR 2016 ‘Politics of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation’ section (formerly Europe of Knowledge) endorsed by the proposed Standing Group of the same name.
The ECPR General Conference will be held on 7-10 September 2016 in Prague, Czech Republic.
You will find below the section abstract along with short panel abstracts and the contact details of the panel organisers. Extended CFPs for each panel will be circulated and posted on the CRN’s site in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in submitting a paper to one of these panels please contact the panel chair(s) directly (contacts are below) to discuss your ideas before the 24th of January 2016 or submit an abstract independently to the section before the formal deadline (15 February 2016) via MyECPR. Please note that ECPR only allows individuals to perform each conference function (including paper presenter) once within the academic programme, though multiple co-authorship is possible.
Knowledge policies are at the forefront of contemporary global politics and are seen as the foundation on which societies coalesce and economies thrive. This section builds on the previous four sections on the Europe of Knowledge and invites contributions from around the world to consider the various dimensions of knowledge policy development. Specifically, we are interested in theoretical, empirical, and comparative contributions that investigate the role of the ‘four I’s’ – ideas, interests, instruments and institutions – in the global, multi-level, multi-issue, and multi-actor governance of knowledge policies, including failures and successes. By ‘role’, we refer to effects that ideas, actors (individual, organisational), policy instruments/mixes, and institutions have had on the governance of knowledge policies, and vice-versa. We focus on ‘roles’ to enable a multidisciplinary discussion on whether these factors share defining characteristics across different knowledge policy domains (i.e. research, higher education, and innovation), and between distinct governance levels and geographical regions. This section continues to welcome scholars from all theoretical and methodological approaches to critically discuss the reconfiguration of knowledge systems around the world.
Panel being developed:
- Applying complex systems theory to higher education and research policy
Describing political and policy phenomena as complex has become commonplace; however, the term is often used without reference to the scientific study of complex systems. Papers in this panel may take either a qualitative, quantitative or mixed approach, but will all rigorously attempt to apply key concepts in complex systems theory to the study of higher education and/or research.
- Researching the governance of knowledge policies: methodological and conceptual challenges
Research and higher education policy studies often take the state as a starting point for analysis, which may lead to ‘methodological nationalism’ and limit the scope of analysis in an increasingly interconnected world. We invite papers that examine (empirically, theoretically) such methodologies and the role of the nation state as well as supranational and sub-national arenas in knowledge policy studies. We aim to identify sector-specific methodological and conceptual challenges and highlight alternative (multi-level) approaches and foci.
- Knowledge policies in cross-sectoral comparison
Chair/discussant: Pauline Ravinet (Universite de Lille 2) – email@example.com
Higher education and research policies have been subjected to structured examination, but works on these issues rarely engage in a systematic comparison with policy developments in other sectors. What could we learn by doing more cross-sectoral comparison? This panel invites papers engaging in comparisons of higher education and/or research policies with other policy areas (theoretical policy design papers as well as empirical papers are welcome).
- Market-making of, in, and around European higher education
Chair: Janja Komljenovic (University of Bristol) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Discussant: Susan Robertson (University of Bristol)
This panel’s focus is the study of market-making in the higher education sector; it aims to analyse the outcomes of marketizing the higher education sector and to develop conceptual grammars and analytical approaches that would allow unpacking of the complexities of marketizing processes. The panel is interested in papers that address: how markets get constructed, for whose benefit, by which actors, and with what consequences and outcomes for the sector and society at large?
- Transnational actors in higher education, research, and innovation
The panel will focus on the role and influence of transnational actors (academic and university associations, experts, funding councils, students etc.) in knowledge policymaking. These actors operate across governance levels, bringing new ideas, advancing the interests of their constituencies and re-shaping the institutional arrangements of policymaking in the area of knowledge. The panel welcomes papers which explore how these emerging actors participate in the policy arena and what impact they may have on policy decisions.
- The politicisation of knowledge policies: actors in national arenas
Chair: Jens Jungblut (University of Oslo) – email@example.com
Knowledge policies are becoming politically salient and increasingly politicised. Yet our understanding of the actors involved in knowledge policymaking in different countries, the constraints they face from their institutional environment, and their interplay and preferences is still limited. Papers are invited to investigate the roles of different actors (e.g. political parties),the interplay between them and their institutional environment across all stages of policymaking.
- Politics of access in higher education systems
Chair/Discussant: Beverly Barrett (University of Houston) – firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years, we observe a proliferation of national and regional strategies for increasing access to higher education around the world: in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Europe. Indeed, the European drive to consolidate the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) has higher educational attainment as an explicit objective. This panel invites contributions that compare and examine the extent to which these initiatives to support learning objectives and graduation outcomes are innovative and effective.
- Policy failures in the knowledge domain
Chair/discussant: Meng-Hsuan Chou (NTU, Singapore) – email@example.com
Higher education, research, and innovation policy domains have undergone dramatic changes in recent decades. Embedded in these changes are assumptions about failure and learning, and the belief that the ‘new and novel’ would ‘right’ the ‘wrongs’. Yet our understanding of the failure-learning mechanism remains under-developed. Indeed, social scientists often conflate three distinct types of failure—politics, policy, and instruments—in their analyses. This panel invites papers that seek to identify and unpack the failure-learning mechanism, if any, operational in specific knowledge policy changes.