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Back to Paper Details
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Framing Higher Education Inter-Regionalism

Asia
European Union
Institutions
Integration
Policy Analysis
Public Administration
Regionalism
Education
Pauline Ravinet
Institut d'Études Politiques de Lille
Meng-Hsuan Chou
University of Helsinki
Pauline Ravinet
Institut d'Études Politiques de Lille

Abstract

The rise of higher education regionalism has rarely been studied from the combined perspectives of policy design and framing. This paper addresses this gap in the literature by examining a variant of higher education regionalism: inter-regional cooperation in the field of higher education between ASEAN and the EU. This paper investigates the preparation and design of the key instrument for this cooperation—the initiative ‘EU Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region (SHARE)’, which seeks to establish a common higher education area in Southeast Asia where knowledge would move freely. As its name implies, this instrument is embedded in a specific understanding of inter-regionalism whereby one region is presented as offering support to standardising higher education policies and practices in the other region. We study the period up to April 2014 during which the various regional partners proposed, deliberated, and agreed on the specific elements of the SHARE instrument. Based on more than 50 in-depth interviews with policy actors involved in this process, we show how multiple frames—ranging from specific sectoral frames (i.e. education, foreign policy, and development) to institutional frames (EU and ASEAN)—competed for attention. The analysis shows how the EU development frame came to dominate the formulation of the SHARE instrument and the implications this has for the state of power dynamics between these two regions.