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Whether it is 'dialogue at eye level', 'cooperation on an equal footing' or 'partnership among equals' – the vocabulary of international cultural and educational policy suggests that interpersonal and interstate cooperation is legitimate if and only if it is somehow shielded from power relations. For this reason, North-South cooperation is regularly criticised by postcolonial researchers as a form of prolongation of imperial modes of interaction.
This research will investigate whether asymmetric cooperation may nonetheless be legitimised if it leads to effective problem-solving and/or generates emancipatory effects. Is genuine horizontality in bilateral and multilateral cooperation ever possible? Can there be such a thing as a non-colonialist foreign cultural and educational policy?
Close attention will be paid to the possibility for the weaker cooperation partner to demand and obtain rational justifications from more powerful cooperation partners. This tension will be examined on the basis of a critical and reflexive analysis of the DAAD project "Tunisia in transition", involving collaboration between German and Tunisian universities.
Mathieu Rousselin is a postdoctoral researcher in the project ‚From Dialogue to Cooperation‛ funded by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) in cooperation with the Centre for Global Cooperation Research. In addition, he is also lecturer in political science and international relations at the universities of Duisburg-Essen and Passau in Germany.
He holds a PhD in international affairs and political economy from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland and Master’s degrees from the Paris Institute of Political Studies and the College of Europe. His research interests include global environmental governance, social movement theory, critical theory and the study of democratisation processes. Since 2011, he has been involved in a number of cooperation initiatives with Tunisia funded by the German Academic Exchange Service.
His research has been published in New Media and Society, Euxeinos, the European Foreign Affairs Review, Global Dialogues, Multitudes, the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, WeltTrends, Critique and Science and Society. He is also the author of Widerstand (Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2014), a book written in German on contemporary critiques of capitalism in France.