Transnational Flow of Ideas in National Policy and Planning in the Global South (Academic Panel)

Policy studies have traditionally concentrated on the analysis of national and local levels (Stone 2008). Only very recently (since the mid-2000s), a concern has emerged regarding the arbitrariness of this geographic focus in times of globalization and trans-national flows (Clarke 2012; Healey 2013; Roy 2011). This increase in interest accounts for the changed reality of policy making in which issues often extend beyond national scales and require coordination efforts between different states (e.g. maritime and environmental preservation, green-gas emissions, water management, migration, disasters, trade, crime prevention and security studies). Furthermore since the 1990s, international organizations, partnerships and associations (e.g. United Nations, World Bank, City Alliance, C 80, ICLEI) have become increasingly important policy influences (see for a review of global policy, Deardorff Miller 2014). Consequently, we witness the parallel development of the trans-nationalization of problems and decision making.

In this context, a deeper understanding is required of the mechanisms of international and transnational policy making and the mobility of policy concepts, innovations and experts (De Francesco 2013). This new glowing interest in transnational policy analysis has concentrated, with a few notable exceptions, on the Global North (e.g. King 2003, Miraftab 2009, Haynes& Rao 2013). Policy (and academic) discourses in the Global South have largely reflected the unequal power distribution between core and periphery. Countries of the Global South are not only sites where development and policy implementations occur, but also important places where policy innovations and new directions emerge.

The panel proposes to analyse the trans-nationality of policy making in countries of the Global South. Contributions aim at unfolding the various scales of influences and decision-making in national policy making. These may include the use of specific case studies (“best practices”) for base line reports, the involvement of international organizations, consultancies, or financial services. Promising contribution might be informed by analysing the educational and institutional background of policy makers or by tracing the specific mechanismsof how an idea becomes translated from asending to a receiving country. The objective of these contributions is to unearth the complex interrelatedness of “travelling” policy ideas and tools, their underlying discussion, people involved and on-ground effects of their implementation. A deeper understanding of the “Transnational flow of ideas in national policy and planning” gains an additional relevance in light of the Sustainable Development Goals and the recently ratified New Urban Agenda.


Clarke, N. (2012). Urban policy mobility, anti-politics, and histories of the transnational municipal movement. Progress in Human Geography, 36(1), 25–43.

De Francesco, F. (2013). Transnational Policy Innovation: The OECD and the Diffusion of Regulatory Impact Analysis, ECPR Press.

Haynes, D. E., & Rao, N. (2013). Beyond the Colonial City: Re-Evaluating the Urban History of India, ca. 1920–1970. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 36(3), 317–335.

Healey, P. (2013). Circuits of knowledge and techniques: The transnational flow of planning ideas and practices. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37(5), 1510–1526.

King, A. D. (2003). Writing transnational planning histories. Urbanism: Imported or Exported, 1–14.

Miller, S. D. (2014). Lessons from the global public policy literature for the study of global refugee policy. Journal of Refugee Studies, feu027..

Miraftab, F. (2009). Insurgent Planning: Situating Radical Planning in the Global South. Planning Theory, 8(1), 32–50. Journal Article.

Roy, A. (2011). Commentary: Placing Planning in the World-Transnationalism as Practice and Critique. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 31(4), 406–415.

Stone, D. (2008). Global public policy, transnational policy communities, and their networks.


Joyeeta Gupta, Full Professor, Environment and Development in the Global South, Governance and Inclusive Development, University of Amsterdam


Mariel Cristina Aguilar Støen, Associate Professor, University of Oslo, Centre for Development and the Environment


Anthony Boanada-Fuchs, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Metropolitan Studies, University of Sao Paulo/Kompreno Geneva

Johannes M. Waldmueller, Professor, Department of Political Sciences and International Relations, Universidad de las Américas, Quito