skip to primary navigation skip to content

Eva Hartmann


Associate Professor, Sociology of Education, Political and Global Sociology

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767600


  • PhD (Dr. rer. pol), Political Science/International Studies, University of Kassel, Germany, 2006
  • MPhil in Sociology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/M., Germany, 1996
  • Bachelor in Sociology, University of Zurich, Institute of Sociology, 1992

Career History

  • Assistant professor, Department of Business and Politics, & Management, Politics & Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, 2014-2017
  • Junior lecturer (Première assistante), Institute of Political and International Studies, University of Lausanne, 2006 – 2013
  • International Labour Office (ILO), project development and gender mainstreaming, Geneva 1999-2000
  • German Corporation for International Cooperation, project assistance, gender mainstreaming 1998-1999

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Member of the European Educational Research Association
  • Member of the Comparative & International Education Society
  • Member of the European Association of Sociology
  • Member of the International Studies Association

Back to top


My research interrelates educational research, sociology and international studies in ways that are informed by my own educational background. I graduated in Sociology and hold a doctorate in Political Science/International Relations. A sociological account of education rejects an understanding of education as just one of many policy fields, as political scientists tend to do. But it also avoids a narrow educationalist perspective on education that does not account for the broader societal picture. My own account of sociology of education draws on critical state theory, political and economic sociology, sociology of professions and knowledge, as well as decolonial studies with a view to better understanding the dialectical relationship between society, education, power and the transnational. The Frankfurt School and in particular teachers like Gayatri Spivak, Nancy Fraser, Iris Young, Juergen Habermas, Judith Butler and Bob Jessop had been very formative for my own work.

My empirical research focuses on the internationalisation of higher education, though it also explores issues of vocational education and further education. I am the leader of the Cambridge Critical Higher Education Research (CCHER)  group, a sub-group of the research cluster Knowledge, Power, Politics. My past research scrutinised the nexus between knowledge and development and the role of the World Bank as a knowledge bank. I also examined extensively international and regional qualifications regimes and how they enable cross-border mobility of skilled labour (in particular regulated professions like doctors and engineers). Part of this research was an in-depth study of the role of UNESCO conventions for the recognition of higher education qualifications, starting with the UNESCO Lisbon Convention and its role in the Bologna Process, aiming to establish a European Higher Education Area. More recently I studied other regional UNESCO recognition conventions, as well as the International Convention, adopted by the General Assembly in 2019. Taking a sociological perspective, I use the study of education policies and recognition regimes as lens to examine the transformation of society, the interaction between supra-, inter- and transnational institutional arrangements, as well as the current geo-political transformation of the global order more generally. My studies shed light on how this transformation impacts academic knowledge creation, curation and dissemination. More recently, I devoted attention to the role of private actors, like quality assurance agencies, professional associations, as well as multinational companies, in setting international education standards. These studies shed lights on an emerging transnational private authority and the relationship between geopolitics and geoeconomics.

Current research
My current research zooms in on geopolitics and higher education where I critical engage with an emerging literature on educational diplomacy with a view to developing an alternative perspective. One ongoing research project examines how geopolitical interests underpin current changes in the recruitment of non-EU international students, comparing Germany and the UK. A second research project studies transnational higher education provisions and their geopolitical implications. A third project explores the role of geopolitics in the digitalisation of education in the EU context. First publications are under review.

During Easter (spring term) and Michaelmas (autumn term) 2023, I am on sabbatical leave to conduct my research on geopolitics and internationalisation of higher education. I will be a visiting fellow at the International Relations and Political Science Department of the Geneva Graduate Institute in autumn 2023.

Academic Area/Links

Back to top

Research Topics

  • International higher education
  • Transnational education
  • Higher education, vocational education and training, further education
  • Geopolitics, decoloniality
  • Migration, cross-border mobility of students and skilled labour
  • Social mobility (national and international)
  • Privatisation of education and standard-setting
  • Digitalisation and platformisation of higher education and further education

Past research projects

  • 2006-2010: Standards and International Relations: Devolution of Power in the Global Political Economy, University of Lausanne/Switzerland (PI Professor Jean-Christophe Graz, funded by Swiss National Science Foundation)
    • Role: Co-coordinator and leader of sub-project on international educational standards
  • 2014-2017: Institutional Transformation in European Political Economy, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark (PI Professor Poul F. Kjær, funded by European Research Council)
    • Role: Co-coordinator and leader of sub-project on multinational corporations and global skill development. The case of pharmaceutical companies

Back to top


  • Postgraduate
    • Teaching and supervision in MPhil Knowledge, Power and Politics in Education
  • Undergraduate
    • Part of the management team Education Tripos
    • Coordinator of core track
    • Coordinator of paper Modernity, Education and Globalisation
    • Teaching on Towards a Transnational Sociology of Education (part II), Modernity, Education and Globalisation and Education (part IB), Policy and International Development (EPID) (part II)
  • PhD Students
    I currently supervise eight PhD students who have all joined the Cambridge Critical Higher Education Research group. I have some capacity left to take new students starting in 2024. I welcome doctoral applications from students interested in the following areas.
    • Globalisation, geo-politics, regionalisation and international higher education
    • Academic knowledge producation and power
    • Transnational Education (TNE)
    • Digitalisation of higher education
    • Vocational education and training

Back to top

Principal and Recent Publications


The employability dispositif, or the re-articulation of the relationship between universities and their environment, Journal for Education Policy, 2020, pp. 1-26, (co-author Janja Komljenovic)

The shadow sovereigns of global education policy: a critique of the world society approach. Journal for Education Policy, future of universities in a global risk society. Globalization, 16(5) 2019, pp. 717-736.

Transnational private authority in the sphere of education, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 20 (1), 2018, pp. 217-232.

The Status of Authority in the Globalizing Economy: Beyond the Public/Private Distinction. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 20 (1), 2018, pp. 3-11 (co-author Poul F. Kjaer).

Quality assurance and the shift towards private governance in higher education: Europeanisation through the back door? Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16(4) 2017, pp 309-324.

The educational dimension of global hegemony, Millennium, 44(1) 2015, pp 89-108.

The Europeanisation of the professional complex. Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 2, 245–262. Europäische Hochschulen mit globaler Verantwortung? (European higher education institutions with global responsibility?), in Forum Wissenschaft 31(1) 2014, pp. 22-27.

The fetish of global competition, Capital & Class. Special issue on comparative studies of capitalism, 38 (1), 2014, pp. 184-196.

Neo-pluralist political science, economic sociology and the conceptual foundations of the comparative capitalisms literatures, co-authored with Ian Bruff, Capital & Class. Special issue of Competition and Change on comparative studies of capitalism, 38 (1) 2014, pp.73-85.

Transnational authority in the knowledge-based economy: The rise of standards in educational services (co-author Jean-Christophe Graz) the Journal International Political Sociology No 3, Vol 6, 2012.

International law and politics: a difficult relation. The legal turn from a critical IPE perspective. New Political Economy, 16(5) 2011, pp. 561-584. Editorial: The new research agenda in critical higher education studies, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 8(2) 2010: 169–173.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation: Pawn or Global Player?, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 8(2) 2010: 307-318.

Bologna goes global: A new imperialism in the making?, in Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 6, no. 3, 2008, pp. 205-218.

The Bologna-Process and its effectiveness in the light of the interaction between legitimation, legitimacy and legality, (German Title: Der Bologna-Prozess und dessen Durchsetzungskraft- im Spannungsverhältnis Legitimation, Legitimität und Legalität) in juridikum zeitschrift für kritik | recht | gesellschaft, 2/2008a, Schwerpunkt Universitätspolitiken, pp.85-90.

Back to top

Book sections

Public diplomacy and international higher education In: Rizvi, Fazal; Beech, Jason (eds). Globalization and Shifting Geopolitics of Education, International Encyclopedia of Education 4th Edition, Elsevier. 2023, pp. 640-647.

The internationalisation of further education: between geoeconomics and geopolitics, In: Parreira do Amaral, M.; C. Thompson, C (eds) Transformations in Higher Education Imagining, Fabricating and Contesting Innovation, Cham: Springer, 2022, pp. 179-198.

Overburdening higher education? The Europeanisation of the professional complex, In Cristina Sin, Orlanda Tavares, Sonia Cardoso and Maria João Rosa (eds.)(2018), The Internal Market in Higher Education: Tensions between European Policy and National Sovereignty, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Education outside the public limelight: The ‘parallel universe’ of ICT certifiers, in: Antoni Verger, Christopher Lubienski, Gita Steiner-Khamsi (eds.) World Yearbook of Education 2016, The Global Education Industry. London: Routledge, pp. 228-247.

European Social Policy: Social Cohesion through Competition? in: Eva Hartmann, Poul F. Kjaer (ed), The Evolution of Intermediary Institutions in Europe, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015b, pp. 121-137.

Neopluralistische Politikwissenschaft, Wirtschaftssoziologie und die konzeptuellen Grundlagen der Vergleichenden Kapitalismusforschung, co-authored with Ian Bruff, in Ian Bruff, Matthias Ebenau, Andreas Nölke (eds)(2013), Vergleichende Kapitalismusforschung: Stand, Perspektiven, Kritik, Münster: Westphälisches Dampfboot, pp. 37-50.

Tous pareils, tous différents ? Les chaînes d’équivalence dans l’internationalisation des services professionnels, in Jean-Christophe Graz et Nafi Niang (2013). Des Services sans frontière. Internationalisation et régulation de l’économie des services, Paris: Sciences-Po.

Alles was Recht ist – Recht in der internationalen politischen Ökonomie, In Eva Hartmann, Ulrich Brand and Caren Kunze (2009). Konturen kritischer Internationaler Politischer Ökonomie, Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, pp.242-268.

L’Union Européenne et le principe de la subsidiarité dans le domaine de l'éducation, dans Ph. Laredo, J.-Ph. Leresche et K. Weber (Eds.) 2009 , L'internationalisation des systèmes de recherche en action. Les cas français et suisse, Lausanne : PPUR.pp.51-64.

The EU as an emerging normative power in the global knowledge-based economy? Insights from the field of recognition of higher education qualifications, in Norman Fairclough, Bob Jessop and Ruth Wodak (eds)(2008b) 'Education and the knowledge-based economy in Europe', Amsterdam: Sense Publications, pp. 63-86.

Does the WTO empower UNESCO? An emerging form of global governance in the global knowledge-based economy, in Kerstin Martens, Alessandra Rusconi, Kathrin Leuze (2007): New Arenas of Educational Governance, Hampshire, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 55-119.

Liberalization of higher education and training: Implications for workers’ security (co-author Christoph Scherrer), in Ellen Rosskam (ed)(2006), Winners or losers: liberalizing public services, (Geneva: International Labour Organization), pp. 55-119.

The role of transnational knowledge networks in international developmental policy (German title: Die Rolle von transnationalen Wissensnetzwerken in der internationalen Entwicklungspolitik), in Olaf Gerlach, Stefan Kalmring, Daniel Kumitz, Andreas Nowak (eds) (2004), Peripherie und globalisierter Kapitalismus. Frankfurt/M.: Brandes & Apsel, pp. 263-294.

The transnationalization of tertiary education in a global civil society, in Gabriele Kreutzner, Heidi Schelhowe (eds) (2003), Agents of Change: Virtuality, Gender , and the Challenge to the Traditional University, Opladen, pp. 25-42.

Back to top

Books/Special issues

The Status of Authority in the Globalising Economy, Beyond the Public/Private Distinction, co-edited with Poul F. Kjaer, special issue Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies. 20 (1), 2018.

Special Issue: A sociology of competition, Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory, 16(2) 2015 (co-edited with Poul F. Kjaer).

The Evolution of Intermediary Institutions in Europe. From Corporatism to Governance, co-editor with Poul F. Kjaer, Hampshire, New York: Palgrave (2015).

Towards a new Research Agenda in Critical Higher Education Studies, London: Routledge (2011)(editor).

Auf dem Weg zu einem globalen Hochschulraum. Konsequenzen für die Konstitutionalisierung internationaler Politik (towards a global Higher Education Area. Consequences for the constitutionlisation of international politics), Baden-Baden:Nomos (2011).

Critical Higher Education Studies, editor of a special issue of Globalisation, Societies and Education 8(2) (2010).

Outline of a critical international political economy (German titelKonturen kritischer Internationaler Politischer Ökonomie ) , co-editor (with Ulrich Brand and Caren Kunze), Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot (2009).

Regime-Interaktionen - Die Rolle des GATS und der UNESCO beim Aubau eines globalen Arbeitsmarktregimes (Regime interaction : the role of GATS and the UNESCO in establishing a global labour market regime), Kassel: Kobra (2009).

Back to top

Working papers/reports

Enhancing intra-regional portability of skills and labour qualifications in UNU-CRIS (Hg.)(2008) 'Deepening the social dimensions of regional Integration: An overview of recent trends and future challenges in light of the recommendations of the report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization', ILO Discussion Paper 188.

The role of qualifications in the global migration regime, GARNET Working paper No. 38, 2008.

Information Technology Vendor Certification Systems, qualifications, 2007, background paper, International Labour Office, Geneva: International Labour Office.

Enhancing international portability of skills and qualifications, 2006, background paper, International Labour Office, Geneva: International Labour Organization.

Negotiations on trade in services - The trade unions’ position on GATS. Dialogue on Globalization, Occasional Papers No. 6 (May) 3003, Geneva : Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (co-author Christoph Scherrer).

Liberalization of Higher Education and Training: Implications for Workers’ Security 2003, Geneva: International Labour Office (co-author Sebastian Haslinger, and Christoph Scherrer).

Back to top