28 SES 17, Development Narratives as a Common Good? Knowledge Constraints on ‘Public’ Voice in Historically Subaltern Spaces
Given the hegemony of development agendas of ‘Global North’ over accepted best educational practice in uncertain political worlds, our symposium emphasizes the macro-level educational structures and processes shaping the current generation of policy-relevant knowledge makers in four different national contexts. Our spatially-focused ethnographic approaches align with interdisciplinary theoretical principles designed to address the micro-level ‘public’ voices of educational stakeholders in the ‘Global South.’ Such approaches illustrate the desires for locally realized educational futures whilst negotiating the authority of apparently ‘good’ global development narratives, wider political conflicts in fragile nation-states, and the symbolically weighty burden of colonial policies across a wide range of geopolitical sites.
The key objectives of this symposium are: to outline new geographies of ethnographic knowledge challenging the dominance of ‘Northern’ research paradigms; and to provide new conceptualizations of the ‘public good’ through critical post-development ethnographic inquiry. We ask: what is the relationship between education as a common good, the future of educational opportunity, the importance of place, and evidence-based policy making? What, and who, constitutes the public in research and practice, who is included in definitions of ‘public’ education, and how does that vary in education systems globally?
The provision for public education internationally, including the mandated expansion of access, prescribed curricula, and ‘quality,’ are often conceptualised as the ‘common good’ by third sector organisations (see UNESCO, 2002, 2004, 2016; Tikly and Barrett, 2011). Arguably, this language, expressed through imagined narratives of ‘development’ and ‘progress’ (Appadurai, 1990; Connell, 2007) ‘represents, manifests, and symbolises’ authority (Bourdieu, 1989) over accepted best educational practice. If power is ‘the transformative capacity of human agency’ (Giddens in Hilferty, 2008, 164) then the political hegemony of the ‘North’ undermines the potential for human agency in the ‘South.’ When education for development agendas is constructed through sanitized data collection processes, and their execution exacerbates inequalities, they continue to encourage outside intervention, silencing the public voices of the subaltern ‘South’ (Spivak 1988). Our research investigates the role that development imaginaries play in shaping the uneven geographies of the ‘public’ in education. We analyse this landscape through two pathways: macro-level educational structures and processes shaping the generation of policy-relevant knowledge in five different national contexts (Pakistan, India, the UK, South Africa, and Tanzania) and; the micro-level ‘public’ voices (e.g. teachers, young people, policy-makers) located in the ‘Global South’ and ‘North’ who assert their desires for locally realized educational futures.
While the dominance of the knowledge economy of the ‘Global North’ is well-recognised (Connell 2007; Santose 2014; Epstein and Morrell 2012), each of our panelists introduce research which moves beyond merely descriptive critiques of this paradigm towards identifying novel research methods seeking to generate new understandings about knowledge production about education and/for ‘development.’ Our ethnographic approaches align with interdisciplinary principles that challenge the dominance of ‘extractive’ research and perceptions of the ‘South’ as a data source (Takayama, Sriprakash and Connell 2017); instead, we see these spaces as sites where ‘thick’ counter-narratives can be seen as working models challenging geopolitical knowledge divides.
First two papers endeavour to create knowledge paradigms informed through interpretive collaborative dialogue, enabled through the ethnographic imagination, and concerned with the ‘public good’ at local scales of the nation. They identify research dilemmas about the ‘organized loneliness’ of instrumentalist research paradigms, and the ‘inability to have a dialogue either with oneself or the world’ (Stonebridge, 2017). The last two papers assert that critical ethnography in the ‘Global South’ challenges systems of categorization and knowledge production through the creation of spaces of resistance that reject the domination of ‘Northern’ ideas, thereby allowing for a recasting of micro-level public voices.
Appadurai, A. (1990). Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy. Theory, Culture & Society, 7(2), 295–310. Bourdieu, P. (1989). Social space and symbolic power. Sociological theory, 7(1), 14-25. Hilferty, F. (2008). Theorising Teacher Professionalism as an Enacted Discourse of Power. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29(2), 161-173. Connell, R. (2007). Southern theory: The global dynamics of knowledge in social science. Allen & Unwin. Epstein, D., & Morrell, R. (2012). Approaching southern theory: Explorations of gender in South African education. Gender and Education, 24(5), 469-482. Santos, Boaventura de Sousa. (2014). Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide. Boulder, CO: Paradigm. Spivak, G. C. (1988). "Can the Subaltern Speak?" Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana: U of Illinois, 271- 313. Takayama, K., Sriprakash, A. and Connell, S. (2017). Towards a postcolonial comparative and international education. Comparative Education Review, 61(S1), May 2017 Supplement, S1-S24. Tikly, L., & Barrett, A. M. (2011). Social justice, capabilities and the quality of education in low income countries. International Journal of Educational Development, 31(1), 3–14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2010.06.001 UNESCO. (2002). Education for All: Is the world on track? EFA Global Monitoring Report 2002. UNESCO, Paris. UNESCO. (2004). Education for All: The quality imperative. EFA Global Monitoring Report 2005. UNESCO, Paris.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
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Network 10. Teacher Education Research
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Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
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Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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