The Emerging Role of Corporate Actors as Policymakers in Education in Emergencies: Evidence from the Syria Refugee Crisis
Following calls for their greater engagement in refugee education, corporate actors have become increasingly involved in the funding and provision of education in humanitarian contexts. Their involvement has been particularly prominent in the Syria crisis, which has raised questions about the emerging role of corporate actors as global education policymakers in both emergency and protracted crisis situations. Based on case study research on the education of Syria refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, this paper examines the nature of and rationales for corporate involvement in refugee education and how this involvement might point to the emergence of corporate actors as global education policymakers. We draw from the interrelated concepts of market humanitarianism, philanthrocapitalism, and private authority, along with data we collected in 2016 and 2017 from 44 key informant interviews and a mapping of activities in the education sector. Taking a sociocultural approach to policy studies, we argue that a surge in corporate support of refugee education has increased the private authority of corporate actors in global policy circles, which has enabled them to occupy new and potentially significant roles in education in emergency policy spaces.