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ECPR Summer School in Methods & Techniques 2020

Eurasian Higher Education Area: Inspired by Europe?

Europe (Central and Eastern)
European Union
Higher Education
Natalia Leskina
Ural Federal University
Natalia Leskina
Ural Federal University

‘Region building’, or promotion of the EU model worldwide, is often considered as one of the priorities in external relations of the EU (Lombaerde & Schulz, 2013). Though there is significant research on the proliferation of Bologna model in Africa, Asia and Latin America, it remains isolated from diffusion of ideas and (inter-)regionalism theories of IR. As for the post-Soviet space, although there is well-established field on the adoption of Bologna reforms on national and institutional levels, regional dimension remains rather unexplored. Meanwhile, it features engagement in multiple overlapping regionalisms whose interconnectedness needs to be further explored. The aim of this paper is to analyse the diffusion of European ideas on higher education regionalism to the post-Soviet space, i. e. their impact on the drafting Eurasian higher education area. Diffusion is conceptualised as an active process of norm transformation or “localization” (Acharya, 2004), and meaning of the norms even may become contested because of different interpretations stemming from varying contexts (Wiener, 2007). The research starts with analysis of post-Soviet context in relation to (dis)integration in higher education, and then, drawing on the conceptualisation of diffusion of regionalism by T. Risse (Risse, 2016, p. 88), it examines modification or re-interpretation of idea of regionalism itself, institutions and policies as a result of their transfer to different context. Main method is discourse analysis of official documents and speeches of senior officials.
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