This sub-theme provides a critical space to explore education, training, and learning as an epi-centre of knowledge, power and politics that has been shaped by colonialism and further inscribed by the work of ‘international development’. The struggles for decolonisation challenge the historical and capillary ways that colonial power has structured legitimate knowledge; knowledge institutions (schools, higher education, vocational training, communities, families); research; as well as policy and practice interventions.  Further, the sub-theme connects these traces to the ways that education and development reproduce social hierarchies, differences and exclusions. More specifically, this it focuses on the multiple influences of colonialism that have left a sustained legacy in which ‘western’ knowledges and ways of being are venerated and inscribed in education, training, and learning and social systems more broadly. It also attends to the corresponding silencing of ‘other’ Southern, indigenous, feminist and local knowledges and practices. In concert, it addresses the ways that ‘development’ itself reproduces the deficit discourses of colonialism that entrench rather than address social inequalities globally. 

The interest in this sub-theme is with the ways that theoretical, methodological and practical approaches can give rise to new understandings and imagine alternatives to hegemonic discourses of education and development. It seeks to understand, explore and redress epistemological exclusions and their implications for research, policy, development interventions, education and society globally. 

In this vein, we encourage submissions that address the concerns above and that potentially take up the following thematic lines: 

  • In what ways is coloniality entangled with the school and university, their structures, rules, regulations, practices and curriculum? How can these entanglements be broken?
  • How can education contribute to dismantling patriarchal, racial, colonial and other hierarchical social structures? 
  • What is the politics of development aid/assistance and how does this relate to decolonising education? How have the social contexts and dynamics of populations in the ‘global south ’been framed by the dominant discourses of development? 
  • How do globalisation, global economics and neoliberalism impact on the possibilities of decolonisation? How have colonisation, capitalism and environmental degradation combined to reproduce dependency? What might constitute social and environmental reparations?
  • What are the politics, policies, processes and practices of education reform in post-colonial contexts? How have these disrupted – or reproduced – colonial education and its related inequalities? 
  • In what ways are families, communities, grassroots organisations, etc., seeking to resist neoliberal and neocolonial ways of doing, being and learning?
  • To what extent do discourses of rights re-inscribe or disrupt [neo]colonial hegemonies?
  • How can we reimagine education research to valorise ‘other’ ways of knowing such as Indigenous, ‘non-Western’ feminist, queer, critical, Afrocentric, etc.?

Sub-theme convenors

Máiréad Dunne

Máiréad Dunne, University of Sussex

Bulola Oyinloye

Bukola Oyinloye, University of York

Read the interview with the convenors about their aspirations for the theme