Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 1 Room: FA131
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 . 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. 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. They are often seen as spokespersons of the various stakeholders, expected to increase the legitimacy of decisions made. 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. A perspective from the sociology of professions characterizes these transnational organizations as pursuing professional development, protecting their professional
jurisdiction, and fostering their professional identity. 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, and might activate themselves as interest groups, insofar they consider that their concerns need to be addressed in policy arenas.
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.