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SP08 - The Future of Development and Global Education – Lessons from the Past

Convened by Eilish Dillon (Maynooth University, Ireland) and Niamh Gaynor (School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, Ireland)

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Development education (DE) has changed over time, with new and important emphases becoming prominent. Over fifty years or more, it has been critiqued for its associations with ethnocentric and modernist development constructions in development. In recent times, and acknowledging global relationships of power and privilege, equality and exploitation, development and over-development, there has been a notable move across Europe towards more of a focus on global education (GE). GE incorporates DE, with its historical focus on global inequality and emphasis on action, global citizenship education (GCE), human rights education (HRE), intercultural and anti-racism education, and education for sustainable development (ESD). While each of these bring their own strengths and philosophical influences, the intersectional focus of GE puts GE at the heart of what many consider to be alternative (more critical, progressive and just) development approaches. Others continue to question the relevance and criticality of GE, for example when it comes to emphases on values over politics and on individualized action, its lack of critique of systemic oppression and neoliberalism, and its association with modernity and coloniality.  

As such, there is a growing interest in critically reflecting on where GE has come from with a view to creating ‘new rhythms’ for the future. What does it mean to decolonize DE and GE and how can they move beyond enlightenment rationalities? What new models, approaches or voices are needed to ensure that DE and GE realize their analytical, relational and transformative potential? How can DE and GE reform, transform or reinvent themselves in the context of contemporary global development challenges? In addressing these questions, important lessons may be learned from the history of development and global education in Europe, and beyond, which can provide guidance for what’s needed now and into the future.  

This seed panel invites contributions from researchers involved in critically exploring the history of GE and its related educations, and its insights for theory and practice today. Exploring similar and different histories when it comes to GE, it aims to examine points of dissonance, resonance, diversity and complementarity between them over time, opening up new avenues for critical and post-critical GE in the future.