Current Institutional Affiliation
Senior Education Advisor, VVOB

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2004
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Political Science, Columbia University
Re(con)figuring the state in Ghana and Senegal

“Re(con)figuring the state'’ is a qualitative comparative case study of Ghana and Senegal that investigates how ideas about the role of the state and market in education shape these two World Trade Organization (WTO) members' decision about whether or not to liberalize their educational services markets through the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The research spans two time periods: the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations from 1986 until 1994, during which the existing trade regime was redefined to include trade in, inter alia, educational services, and which led up to the establishment of the WTO; and the period from 1995 until October 2003 (most recent WTO Ministerial Conference) during which trade negotiations were conducted within and supported by the WTO-framework. Drawing on archival and interview data, the analysis will document the role of ideas regarding state authority in constructing the new trade regime and the establishment of the WTO as an international institution, as well as on the role of the WTO as a "teacher" of pro-liberalization norms in the realm of educational services. It also explores the nature of the interaction between national and international institutions and the flow of ideas about the state, markets and education between them. Given the pernicious relationship between advanced industrial countries -- often exporters of educational services -- and developing countries -- typically importers -- within the trade system at large and the position of sub-Saharan African countries in the WTO more specifically, the social implications of the study are particularly great. In terms of theory-building, the dissertation project intends to contribute to: (1) the literature on the role of international institutions in the field of education, which -- until now -- has focused predominantly on the World Bank and UNESCO; and (2) political science historical institutionalist research, which has not yet fully conceptualized how ideas affect political behavior or decisions.