NW 28: (Cross)Borders. Challenging, Decentring and Provincialising Sociologies of European Education

NW 28 Sociologies of Education

(Cross)Borders. Challenging, Decentring and Provincialising Sociologies of European Education

When is Europe? Where is Europe? What is Europe? This special call aims to challenge how European sociologies of education approach Europe as a political, normative and geographical entity and aims to problematize the Eurocentrism of the production of sociological knowledge. We welcome papers that challenge the positionality of Europe and of European sociologies of education by opening and crossing the borders of knowledges, disciplines and experiences. We invite papers that demystify and provincialise Europe, ‘European education’ and the current sociologies of education through critical perspectives.

The Call
Europe only exists when it is invoked into being discursively and materially, often locally, from a certain place and point of view. The seeming universality of Europe is thus deeply misleading; depending on who speaks, when and where, Europe will stand for a different imaginary, set of hopes or historical legacies. If Europe is a multitude, what is it that has constructed and kept Europe together then and now? Could Europe be understood and studied as a topological spacetime that shifts without losing its recognisable markers? European histories and presents are continuously made and unmade in relational processes that call for both a global sweep and a sensibility to specific practices from place to place.

When is Europe? Where is Europe? What is Europe? Europe has presented itself as a cradle of Enlightenment, modernity and progress. Yet, post-colonial and decolonial theorising has brought to view the “darker side of modernity” (e.g. Mignolo, 2011), showing how Europe has upheld double standards of preaching universal dignity while denying it in practice to many populations inside and beyond Europe’s shifting borders, then and now. Historical colonial administrations are gone, but decolonial scholars speak of their continuities as coloniality of power and knowledge (Quijano, 2007) through divisions in education, labour or housing, racialised narratives, as well as political, academic, and artistic exclusions and boundary-making, appropriations or misrepresentations (Maldonado-Torres, 2007). We welcome papers that demystify and provincialise Europe (Chakrabarty, 2000) and ‘European education’ through critical perspectives that approach Europe from liminal, border or marginal spaces and positionalities, and highlight its relational “coming with” (and also at the expense of) other spaces, times and more-than-human processes.

Acknowledging the Eurocentric and Global North origins of the sociology of education, we invite empirical or thought-provoking papers that challenge the current sociological knowledge on European education. By taking the notion of ‘borders’ as something that divides, but also something that can be crossed to meet ‘others’ (people, disciplines, other planetary companions...), we are interested in understanding:

  • How European sociologies (of education) work, produce and accumulate knowledge, from what perspective and with what problem? How they contribute to the amplification as well as the erasure or ignorance of particular onto-epistemological positions, questions, approaches or biographies;
  • What the implications are for equity and social justice in education when European sociologies of education meet and confront their borders;
  • How issues of identities, differences or commonalities in European education are performed, and, exploiting the post- and anti-colonial discourse, how the resurgence of nationalisms, and the strengthening power of populism and Euroscepticism have reshaped these relations;
  • How these questions are currently decomposing and recomposing, and how they are spatially and temporally constructed in the discourses on digital and non-digital, pandemic and post-pandemic spaces and times of Europe?
  • What novel theoretical and methodological approaches and conceptual tools grasp the changing spatial and temporal construction of European education and address the evolving transnational, mobile, more-than-human, and/or digital spaces and times of Europe?

Contact Person(s)
Nelli Piattoeva (nelli.piattoeva(at)tuni.fi)
Francesca Peruzzo (f.peruzzo(at)bham.ac.uk)
Eszter Neumann (neumann.eszter(at)tk.hu)

Chakrabarty, Dipesh (2000) Provincialising Europe: Historical Thought and Postcolonial Difference, First edition (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. 2007. “On the Coloniality of Being.” Cultural Studies 21 (2–3): 240–70.

Mignolo, Walter. 2011. The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Quijano, Anibal. 2007. “Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality.” Cultural Studies 21 (2–3): 168–78.