New Constellations in European Research and Higher Education Governance
New Horizons in European Politics series
Edited by Meng-Hsuan Chou and Åse Gornitzka
Chapter 1: Building a European knowledge area: an introduction to the dynamics of policy domains on the rise
A careful look at the history of European integration reveals that the knowledge domain has always been present: the founding fathers had visions of common European knowledge institutions (Corbett 2005), ideas about creating a common scientific area have been simmering for decades, and elements of science and technology cooperation were visible already at the very start (De Elera 2006). However, policies and programmes concerning education, students, teaching, learning, schools, colleges and universities, as well as research, research institutes and centres, academics and scientists have in general been at the political margins of the European integration process. Developments since the turn of the century have changed this situation dramatically and demonstrate how institutions and organizational capacity being created in this domain are ratcheting up European cooperation and intensifying the interaction between governance levels. A European 'knowledge policy area' is emerging that is radically different in key aspects from the traditional ways in which (higher) education and science policy issues were handled. How can this new 'knowledge policy area' be interpreted and how can we account for the changes underlying its emergence? In this volume, we show how European integration in these areas did not happen as a steady consensual process of functional adaptation, a consequence of irreversible lock-in effects, nor as a process of rational design and exercise of predetermined political will.