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Share your research with the journal Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education

Deadline for abstract: 1 October 2019 | Deadline for paper submissions: 1 May 2020

Special Issue

Reassessing Globalization

Dynamics associated with globalization—as expressed in the intensification and movement of cultural and economic capital, mass migration, the amplification and proliferation of images via digitalization and electronic mediation generally, and the rising precarity of labor, including intellectual labor—are now fully articulated to modern schooling and the social and cultural environments in which both school-age youth and educators operate. These developments on examination are not always salutary and they are forcing educators to reconsider the boundaries of curriculum, pedagogy, and educational policy. If, as educators, we are to more fully engage with the complex range of experiences, images, and practices that now compel modern school subjects and affect their expression of needs, interests and desires, then we must take these global developments seriously. This Call for Papers is aimed at foregrounding new incisive perspectives on the topic of globalization and education pertaining to the research dimensions of theory, methodology, and policy that might deepen our understandings of education and classroom practices, as well as the existential challenges that contemporary educators face in these tumultuous times of global change.

Earlier discourses have underscored the implications of globalization for education, pointing to the growing importance of education in up-skilling, creating human competencies, and in producing scientific and technical knowledge to prepare societies for participation in a global economy. The predominance of brainpower industries and a technological shift accompanied by a move from emphasis on traditional knowledge cultures to a focus on preparation for an information and knowledge economy have also initiated policy reorientations from earlier democratization of university systems toward developing ‘human capital’, as imperative to securing individual and national competitive advantages. We, however, anticipate that critical insights into educational policy futures may also arrive from the Global South directed at innovative arrangements and borne out by democratic formations promoting not only smart ways of communication and networking or the mapping of discourses for harnessing human resources to maximize economic growth, but also for democratizing participation in a world community, for social inclusion and global justice, for creative and innovative social enterprises encompassing gender equity, human rights, ecological sustainability, global politics played through digital/ urban/ hybrid networks, and eventually, profound ways of understanding the spirit of the age.

This is a Call for critical scholars to envision ‘alternative futures’ of globalization and education. We invite abstracts that offer reassessment of the critical futures of education in the tumult of global change and pursue alternatives that challenge the dominant neoliberal, techno-managerial and instrumentalist paradigm that pervades the educational enterprise in this epoch. For example, some ‘alternatives’ that are already conceived include what Arjun Appadurai (1996, 2013) calls ‘grassroots globalization’ or ‘globalization from below’, what Amartya Sen (1999) defines as ‘the Capability Approach’ to human development, and/or what the ‘Belt & Road Initiative’ coming from the Global South seeks to achieve. Inviting new research leading to multicultural and transnational approaches in the tumult of global change, we call for papers that might lead us to ‘alternative futures’ of globalization and education grounded in the real-existing conditions of late-modern peoples on, but not limited to, the following topics:

1     Cultural politics of education

  • Critical evaluations of global trends in the study of popular culture in education
  • New perspectives on the impact of globalization on school curriculum and pedagogies
  • Reconsiderations of theories in the areas of postcolonialism, cultural studies, (post)feminism, and their implications for the study of policy imperatives in education

2    Economic well-being and education

  • Income inequality and its effects on and from education
  • Education in human progress: Those globalization has left behind
  • Economic effects on education: Complexities of poverty and non-mechanistic global policymaking
  • Mixed-methods, case study, or global ethnography research on transnational educational marketplaces and economic well-being

3    Radical transformation of the public sphere: the Internet as a connecting and educative 

  • Digital divide: Material access and content needs of relevant cultural values
  • The problematizing of the Internet as an information disseminating field
  • Online content creation and organization into educationally relevant data
  • Educational implications of ‘Big Data’

4     Reflections on globalization theory and educational policy, practices, and pedagogies

  • Critical assessment of current status of globalization theories in education
  • Evaluations and case study research on policy initiatives such as the ‘Belt & Road Initiative’ and other initiatives from the Global South
  • Perspectives to be gained from critical and/or de-colonial methodologies in educational research for new approaches to globalization and education
  • Critical quantitative or qualitative studies on aspirational classes and higher education
  • Pedagogical, pragmatic, and programmatic possibilities of globalization and education


Submission Guidelines

Abstract length and format

An interdisciplinary, non-essentialist format based on social and political theories, critical cultural studies, critical educational studies, gender studies, and globalization studies.

Manuscript length: 8250 words (including references).


  • Abstract (250 words) – 1 October 2019.   Please send to cmccart1@illinois.edu
  • Notification of acceptance of abstract – 1 November 2019
  • Full papers to be submitted – 1 May 2020
  • Any required revisions needed, based on peer review comments – 1 July 2020
  • Publication of Discourse Special Issue – October 2021

Guest Editors:

 Koeli Goel, Sophy Xiuying Cai, Laura C. Engel and Cameron McCarthy






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Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at large: Cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
Appadurai, A. (2013). How histories make geographies. Circulation and context in a global perspective. In A. Appadurai, The future as cultural artifact (pp. 61-70). London: Verso. 
Lowe, L. (2015). The intimacies of four continents. Durham, NC: Duke.
MacCanell, D. (2013). The tourist: A new theory of the leisure class. Berkeley, CA: University of California.
Oakes, T., & Price, P. (2008). The cultural geography reader. New York: Routledge.
Nayak, A. (2003). Race, place and globalization: Youth cultures in a changing world. New York: Berg.
Ong, A. (2006). Neoliberalism as exception: Mutations in citizenship and sovereignty. Durham, N.C: Duke.
Roberts, J. T., Hite, A. B. & Chorev, N. (2015). The globalization and development reader: Perspectives on development and global change. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
Sen, A. (2010). The idea of justice. London: Penguin.

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