New publication by Prof. Johannes Drerup:

Global Citizenship Education, Global Educational Injustice and the Postcolonial Critique (in: Global Justice: Theory – Practice – Rhetoric, 12, 1, 2019, pp. 27-54)

27-08-2020 | 15:24

Prof. Johannes Drerup has recently published a new article on Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in a special issue on global justice and education edited by Julian Culp (Paris). The paper develops a defence of a universalist conception of GCE against three prominent critiques, which are, among others, put forward by postcolonial scholars. The first critique argues that GCE is essentially a project of globally minded elites and therefore expressive both of global educational injustices and of the values and lifestyles of a particular class or milieu. The second critique assumes that GCE is based on genuinely ‘Western values’ (e.g., in the form of a conception of human rights or conceptions of rationality or the self), which are neither universally accepted nor universally valid and therefore unjustly forced on members of non-Western cultures and societies. GCE, according to this critique, is assumed to be another version of the educational justification of a hegemonic and unjust global Western regime. The third critique focuses on the epistemological preconditions of GCE. It assumes that GCE relies on a particular, culturally embedded ‘Western epistemology,’ which perpetuates historically grown global educational and epistemic injustices by dominating and subjugating alternative epistemological approaches. With respect to the first critique Drerup argues that it is to a certain extent sociologically plausible, but wrong when it is applied to the educational and political legitimacy of GCE. The second critique overestimates the consensus within the ‘Western tradition’ and underestimates the transnational dissemination of universalist ideals and values as well as its own reliance on universalist validity claims. Drerup argues that in order to provide a plausible criticism of historically grown global educational and political injustices, it is imperative for GCE to integrate central insights provided by the postcolonial critique, without giving up on universalist ideals and values. The third critique is, according to his argumentation, based on flawed epistemological assumptions, which do not withstand critical scrutiny. Instead of identifying epistemic and scientific claims as the expressions of a particular ‘culture’ or geographical location (the ‘West’), he defends the position that philosophical and scientific research should ideally be conceived as a democratic and universalist project, whose emancipatory potential can only be realized on the basis of a universalist epistemology.

The paper contributes to the ongoing debate on postcolonial perspectives on educational theory and practice, which are also the theme of the current issue of the online journal On_Education (`Provincializing `Western Education´ edited, among others, by Prof. Drerup and Prof. Anders Schinkel).

Both the paper and the special issue are available open access: