Centre for Global Education is inviting contributions to Issue 36 of our bi-annual, peer reviewed, open access journal Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review on the theme: “Development Education and Democracy”. Democracy is under threat across the world and this extends to much more than participation in democratic decision-making once every 4-5 years in elections. It includes the right to protest, to debate, to dissent and express opinion in a range of fora from street protests to social media. As the journalist and activist, George Monbiot, puts it: “Protest is not … a political luxury. It is the bedrock of democracy. Without it, few of the democratic rights we enjoy would exist”. New legislation is making its way through the British parliament that Amnesty International claims will extend the police “sweeping powers” to crack down on “explicitly non-violent dissent”. In India, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has escalated violence against Muslims by bulldozing homes and businesses. Indian author and activist, Arundhati Roy, believes that “a deeply flawed, fragile democracy has transitioned – openly and brazenly – into a criminal, Hindu-fascist enterprise with tremendous popular support”.
In the global North and South, the past decade has seen a worrying drift toward authoritarianism with the election of populist leaders who have actively undermined democratic structures and practices within their countries. They include: Bolsonaro in Brazil, Orbán in Hungary, Modi in India, and Erdogan in Turkey. The United States continues to feel the after-shocks of the Trump presidency with the Supreme Court’s decision to expand gun rights and remove the right to abortion by overturning Roe versus Wade. ‘Populism, nativism, white supremacy and other forms of racism and extremism are poisoning social cohesion’, argues United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and ‘Polarization is undermining democratic institutions’. The COVID-19 pandemic has added “greater stresses to democracy”, echoing an Oxfam report which found that the virus has “has exposed, fed off and increased existing inequalities of wealth, gender and race”. When powerful elites and corporations, “exercise undue influence so as to capture public policies in their favor, this undermines the basis of every individual vote in a democracy”, argues Oxfam.
A question germane to this issue of Policy and Practice is the extent to which education has been used as a tool to ensure a sleeping immersion with market and government orthodoxies and, thus undermine democracy itself. As Henry Giroux says of the public education system in the United States. It has:
“become a site of pedagogical repression, robbing students of the ability to think critically as a result of the two political business parties’ emphasis on education as mainly a project of mindless testing, standardization and the de-skilling of teachers”.
Giroux adds that education is critical to a healthy, functioning democracy by providing the ‘spaces that promote a radical imaginary’ and ‘those formative cultures necessary for young and old alike to develop the knowledge, skills and values central to democratic forms of education, engagement, and agency’. This issue of Policy and Practice will reflect on development education’s distinctive and rounded view of democracy that includes the following:
- Grassroots, bottom-up participation;
- Critical consciousness that unveils and challenges the passivity and compliance created by much of the media;
- Dialogue and debate rather than didactic transferrals of information;
- Community participation rather than individualism;
- Liberation rather than domination.
Among the themes that contributors to this issue could consider are the following:
- The depoliticisation of Global Citizenship Education (GCE)
Authors interested in submitting an article to Issue 36 should send a 300-word abstract to journal editor, Stephen McCloskey, by Friday, 14 October 2022. Please email: email@example.com. The submission date for commissioned articles is Friday, 16 December 2022.
There are four kinds of article published in Policy and Practice.
- Focus articles are peer reviewed, between 3,500 and 6,000 words, and should have a strong critical and theoretical analysis of their topic.
- Perspectives articles which are 2,000 – 4,000 words in length and more descriptive, addressing an aspect of development education practice.
- Viewpoint articles which are 2,000 – 4,000 words in length and opinion pieces on burning issues related to DE policy and practice.
- Review articles are 1,000-2,000 words in length and offer an opinion of a new book, film, teaching resource or online site on development issues.
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