LAGCS i la Política de lEducació: Anàlisi dels Factors de Liberalització en lEducació Superior

by Verger i Planells, Antoni

Abstract (Summary)
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) introduces complexity in the global governance of education scenario. Since this agreement was created in the framework of the World Trade Organization in the year 1995, new non-conventional actors and extra-educative rationales are involved in activities of education regulation. The system of rules of the GATS pushes for a progressive liberalization of education all over the world and challenges the traditional internationalisation rationale in the field of education (driven by the principles of cooperation and cultural exchange). Nevertheless, education liberalization under the GATS is also a contested process. Teachers unions, development NGOs, associations of public universities and other education stakeholders have opposed and campaigned against the GATS in different countries and at a range of levels from the local to the global. My first hypothesis line states that local contestation is able to shape the form of the new global trade regime that the Agreement promotes. Specifically, the research explores how domestic actors, its ideas and strategies are key elements to understand the constitution of the global liberalisation process entailed by the GATS. It also explores the effects of the scalar division of the negotiation itself in the outcomes of the agreement. Therefore, my second hypothesis suggests that globalization is not a top-down process and that global and domestic events are related in a dialectical way. My arguments are based on intensive fieldwork involving three country case studies (Argentina, Chile and Spain) that are analysed through a comparative strategy. In these countries, I have interviewed representatives of the ministries of trade and education, as well as the stakeholders of the education field. My fieldwork also contemplates interviews with international actors involved in the negotiation subsystem of the GATS (WTO staff, trade negotiators in the WTOs headquarters, staff members of other international organisations such as UNCTAD - United Nations Conference for Trade and Development - or UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - and representatives of international non state actors such as Education International). The main conclusions of the research are: The scalar division of the negotiation of education in the context of the GATS adopts the following form: the final decision on whether or not to liberalise education is taken at the state level, however the agenda and a part of the preferences are established at the global scale. Nevertheless, it should be said that some countries take the decision to liberalise education in the GATS more autonomously, while others are the object of greater external influences (new WTO members and less developed countries). The advance of the liberalisation of education in the framework of the GATS is challenged by various non-state groups and stakeholders in the education community. Despite the structural power of the WTOs system of rules, the non-state groups have the capacity to alter the results of the GATS negotiations. The debate about the relationship between the GATS and education is rich in causal theories, however no scientific consensus has yet been reached. When no clear consensus is provided on a theoretical level, the principled beliefs provide roadmaps for policymakers, and thus become politically effective. Ideas do not influence the result of policy in an autonomous way, but rather depending on certain political and ideological contexts. These contexts select the discursive strategies and ideas that will be more influential. Finally, my research advocates for the necessity of challenging educationism, methodological statism and methodological nationalism in the comparative education research.
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Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Bonal Sarró, Xavier; Rambla Marigot, Xavier

School:Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona

School Location:Spain

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:434 departament de sociologia


Date of Publication:12/14/2007

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