Policy Transfer and the Global South: New Nationalisms, New Paradigms

Open Panel

Policy transfer is a fast-growing field of research in public policy analysis. Conventional work has tended to focus on western liberal-democratic regimes (EU and OECD countries), on North-South or North-North transfers, and has typically treated the Global South (GS) as the recipient or target of transfer. This neglects the agency of actors in the GS, as well as recent eruptions of new nationalisms that will challenge existing paradigms. Not only do actors in the GS have agency, but they are asserting in new ways, fuelled by resistance to international organizations, populism, and new demands both from citizens and governments.

The purpose the Panel is to widen and deepen the debate on policy transfer on the Global South, through the lens of new nationalisms and the potential disruptions in flows of policies, programs and ideas. The rise of some Southern governments as policy innovators has not only enhanced South-South transfers, but has also produced new experts in new policy fields, bringing them on to the “global policy market”. Unconventional agents have appeared on the transfer stage, such as foundations, consultants, policy advisory groups and firms. And while some under-the-radar transfers have been increasing, primarily in technical fields, in others (around governance or trade), they are being challenged.

This panel invites papers that contribute to our understanding of unconventional actors, flows, power dynamics and translations in this new disruptive environment. We particularly welcome papers on policy transfer in and from the global South; on a different range of non-governmental actors (e.g., foundations, research institutions, co-ops, trade unions, social movements, etc.); and ones that take existing modalities of transfer (e.g., translation) in new directions. New paradigms of transfer are needed, paradoxically ones that need to take account of “non-transfer”, modulated transfer, resistance and reaction, and new channels for the flow of unconventional ideas.