Experts and Expertise in European International Organizations 1973-87

Experts and Expertise in European International Organizations 1973-87

Carine Germond, Maastricht University / University of Portsmouth; Wolfram Kaiser, University of Portsmouth
Vom - Bis
30.01.2014 - 31.01.2014
Professor Wolfram Kaiser

The financial and economic crisis since 2008 has highlighted the role of international organizations in shifting discourses and transforming policies in such transnational socio-economic crises. It has also brought into focus the importance of experts and expertise in discussing, addressing and providing possible solutions for such crises.

Crisis and crisis experience were central to Western European history between the first oil crisis of 1973 and the decision to create a fully-fledged internal market in the Single European Act which came into force in 1987. The oil price shock precipitated the first post-war energy crisis and contributed to the stagflation in the 1970s, with low growth rates, rampant inflation, growing unemployment, budget and state deficits and monetary instability. But this socio-economic crisis also generated new policy ideas and preferences and institutional reforms to address structural issues in different sectors affected by the crisis and the effects of accelerating globalisation – eventually allowing the completion of the internal market already foreseen in the EEC treaty of 1957.

In the increasingly interdependent and to some degree integrated Western Europe in this time period between 1973 and 1987, European international organizations (IOs) such as the OECD, the UNECE and the EC played a crucial role in debating and addressing manifold dimensions of the crisis, shifting discourses and transforming policies at national and European level, especially in the EC. These IOs drew heavily on experts and their expertise in managing crisis and seeking solutions for structural problems. The European Commission for example relied heavily on expertise provided by scientists/academics, consultants, and the representatives of interest groups. In the transnational context of European integration broadly conceived, transnational communities of experts emerged and played an active role in debating and addressing both sectoral and broader institutional and legal integration issues.

This workshop is organized in collaboration between Maastricht University and the University of Portsmouth. It will investigate: a) the types of experts and expertise which emerged or became transformed in this period; b) their input in policy-making and addressing sector-specific and institutional and legal integration issues; c) the contestation of their expertise and more generally, of their role in policy-making including issues of transparency and democratic quality of policy-making and the social costs of proposed and actual policy changes.

To investigate the diversity of experts and expertise cultures the workshop will analyse in comparative perspective different European sectors and policy fields, which were either an EC competence or at least had strong transnational connotations and were debated in the EC as well as in other IOs like the OECD with a primary European focus. These sectors and policy fields include, but are not limited to, for example, agriculture, heavy industry, environment, energy, and technology.

Strategically, the objective of the workshop is to develop new contacts and networks around this emerging field of research, with a particular focus on the contemporary history of (Western) Europe. Academically, the workshop seeks to connect the research strands on the socio-economic crisis after 1973 and on IOs, experts and expertise, and to offer fresh and innovative insights based on original research into a key period of European integration broadly conceived, i.e. not focused exclusively on the present-day EU. It is envisaged that a selection of fully-revised papers will be published in a peer-reviewed publication.

We invite paper proposals addressing the role of experts in European IOs, or advising them, in debating and managing crisis, diffusing ideas and transforming policies in the 1970s and 1980s. All papers must be based on original research and draw upon archival sources, interviews, etc. Proposals need to include the name of the applicant and his/her institutional affiliation, the paper title, an abstract of max. 300 words, and a short CV with a list of relevant recent publications, if any.

The deadline for submission is 3 June 2013. Paper proposals have to be sent simultaneously to the co-organizers Dr Carine Germond ( and Professor Wolfram Kaiser (

Successful applicants will be informed shortly after 28 June 2013. The organizers will cover accommodation in Maastricht for 2 nights and reasonable travel costs for paper-givers.



Professor Dr. Wolfram Kaiser
University of Portsmouth

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