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Title: An analysis of higher education and the Gulf Cooperation Council : a new mechanism and mode of governance?
Author: Aljafari, Tahani
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis asks the question : How might we understand and explain the recent developments in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and emerging region of the GCC over the past decade? This thesis examines the way m which the GCC countries, comprising the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, have put into place a number a number of strategic internationalisation activities in higher education in order to foster each country's movement from an oil-based economy to knowledge-based economy. These initiatives have been given high priority and are underpinned by massive resources. I examine the ways in which these initiatives represent a unique model of development for universities, which depart from the classical models that have otherwise characterised universities, and their role in national development. I look specifically at the role of the GCC in this project, and ask whether it also is creating a new regional space of governing. Conceptually, this research draws upon Robert Cox's Historical Critical Theory (1996) and Jessop's (2005) Strategic Relational Approach (SRA) to the structuring of social and political life. On the one hand, a critical theory approach directs attention to the social and political complex as a whole rather than to its separate parts. This enables us see the linkages between higher education initiatives in the GCC countries, and the wider political, cultural and economic dynamics of which they are a part. On the other hand, Jessop's SRA Strategic Relational Approach Qessop, 2005) is used to reveal the ways in which social and political outcomes are contingent upon strategic choices. Methodologically, the study deploys Burawoy's (1998) Extended Case Method that facilitates a theoretically informed and empirically grounded analysis of multi-scalar sets of social relations involved in the development of higher education in the GCC (Muhr, 2008). A more complex picture is thus drawn through the usage of a 'framework of action' that is structured historically. I explore the ways in which in the GCC, the framework of action consists of three interacting forces: ideas (KBE, internationalisation), material capabilities (natural resources), and institutions (regimes, society) with reciprocal relations. The research findings reveal that the GCC's strategic selectivity of new university formation is conditioned by wider global trends towards internationalisation and regionalisation on the one hand, and the unique strategies of each of the GCC countries in the study, on the other. These latter initiatives are implemented through different modes of institutional development - such as Education City Qatar (ECQ), Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUS1), with each country responding to internal and external pressures. These new events may be seen semiotically as the historical implementation of certain strategies/actions and are now deciphered as signs of the way forward. In conclusion, regardless of a policy for regional integration or not, the very significant investment and new dynamics generated with the new events like KAUST, ECQ and DIAC collectively compromise, and contribute to, a nascent regionalism via the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available