Centre for Global Education is inviting contributions to Issue 37 of our bi-annual, peer reviewed, open access journal Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review on the theme: Frontlines of Activism. New research from Comhlamh and Maynooth University suggests that ‘acts of global citizenship’ should be ‘transgressive, questioning and/or disruptive of existing laws and responsibilities’. But active citizenship, particularly the right to protest, is under threat in England and Wales with the introduction of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the Public Order Bill; legislation which the journalist, George Monbiot, argues ‘is carefully criminalising every effective means of protest’. The human rights organization, Liberty, has described this as ‘a democratic crisis in the UK’ and a denial of Article 11 of the Human Rights Act. Also, under attack is trade unions’ right to mount strikes to improve the pay and conditions of their members, another fundamental bedrock of democracy used over centuries to secure workplace rights for workers. The UK government is threatening to raise the bar even higher for trade unions to engage in industrial action which prompted eleven trade unions to take legal action against the Westminster government.
A worrying slide toward authoritarianism is seeing the erosion of civil liberties and human rights across the world, including: anti-government protests in Iran sparked by the murder of Kurdish-Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, that have seen 14,000 arrested; the killing of 27 anti-austerity protesters in Sierra Leone by police in October 2022 in disputed circumstances; and 358 human rights defenders working on land, environmental and indigenous rights were killed in 35 countries in 2021. At a time of accelerating inequality and global heating, our activism has rarely been more urgently needed but this requires that we resist the erosion of democratic spaces, either online or on the streets, to secure the capacity for free speech and the advancement of human rights in all aspects of our lives. Activism is particularly central to the practice of development education which is premised on Freire’s idea of praxis which combines reflection and action to support transformative interventions in reality. We recall that Freire was a political activist who worked with illiterate peasants and workers in Brazil, was imprisoned and subsequently exiled from 1964 to 1980. His friend and colleague over a period of fifteen years, Henry Giroux, described Freire as ‘a revolutionary whose passion for justice and resistance was matched by his hatred of neoliberal capitalism and loathing for authoritarians of all political stripes’. In regard to activism, Giroux argued that ‘Culture and literacy for Freire offered people the space to develop new modes of agency, mass resistance, and emotional attachments that embraced empowering forms of solidarity’.
Development educators, equipped with Freire’s critical pedagogy, analysis of social and economic relations, and use of culture and literacy have the capacity to create new modes of agency in communion with learners. Issue 37 of Policy and Practice invites contributions from the frontlines of activism that explore the extent to which the development education sector is supporting critical enquiry and informed action based on its analysis of global issues. We invite authors engaged in research and practice on activism and social change to contribute to the debate on how the sector can enable learners to transform society. We welcome articles that draw upon the activism of individuals and organisations that has offered a portal into a better world and can inspire others to follow their lead. We also invite articles exploring the extent to which formal and informal education systems are preparing learners to engage in effective action on poverty, sustainability and the environment. Are schools and educational institutions devoid of action, places of preparation for action, or indeed sites of action themselves?
This issue of Policy and Practice will reflect on development education’s distinctive and rounded view of action and social change that includes the following:
- Grassroots, bottom-up participation;
- Critical consciousness that unveils and challenges the passivity and compliance created by much of the media;
- Education as a means toward transformative dialogue between teacher and student;
- Dialogue and debate rather than didactic transferrals of information;
- Community participation rather than individualism;
- Transformative action rather than alienating ‘blah’;
- Liberation rather than domination.
Among the themes that contributors to Issue 37 could consider are the following:
- To what extent is DE supporting activism and citizenship? Authors currently researching activism and social change in the context of development education may be interested in sharing their work.
- Online activism and the need to democratise online spaces to support debate and active citizenship.
- The climate strikes as activism: what are the lessons that can be learned in development education?
- Activism as education: how does activism support learning on global issues?
- The intersection between activism and formal / informal education: what are the challenges and opportunities to supporting learners to engage in activism?
- Examples of activism: how can we draw upon the activism of leading activists past and present to support our practice?
- Activism as a form of resistance to inequality, injustice and poverty. Authors are invited to write case studies of activism, locally and globally.
- What are the lessons on activism and social change that can be learned from the global South, including Indigenous, land, environment, human rights and anti-austerity movements on the frontlines of resistance and change?
- Authors interested in submitting an article to Issue 37 should send a 300-word abstract to journal editor, Stephen McCloskey, by Monday, 3 April 2023. Please email: email@example.com. The submission date for commissioned articles is Friday, 7 July 2023.
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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