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Vanessa Andreotti School of Māori, Social and Cultural Studies in Education, University of Canterbury, Aotearoa
This paper offers a synthesis of arguments mainly developed by Latin American scholars on the need for different epistemologies and a more nuanced understanding of modernity and coloniality in discussions about cosmopolitanism and global citizenship education. Informed by, but also critical of, world-systems theory (see Wallerstein 1974; 1984; 1991), these arguments highlight the importance of the geopolitics of knowledge construction and of situated theoretical approaches to questions related to the political economy of global citizenship education. My intention in writing this synthesis is not to present these scholars‘ propositions as normative ideals, but as challenging and complementary or ‗supplementary‘ perspectives that are missing on the table of educational debates related to global citizenship education. My contributions to this debate have focused on the use of postcolonial theory and post-structuralism as analytical tools for critiques of global citizenship education policy and practices, and as frameworks for pedagogical projects that emphasise self-reflexivity and relationality (see for example Andreotti 2006; 2007; 2009; 2010). Hence, in choosing a different theoretical lens, it is also my intention to affirm the need for an approach to scholarship that recognises that every theoretical approach will only offer a partial and limited perspective on an issue: the complexity of global citizenship education cannot be captured by any one theory. This approach emphasises that walking (and pushing) the edges of a theory‘s limits is part of our ethical responsibility as researchers. In this sense, I start with Puerto Ricani sociologist Ramon Grosfoguel (2008) who offers a comparison of world systems and postcolonial analytical approaches. He argues that both share a ―critique of developmentalism, of Eurocentric forms of knowledge, of gender inequalities, of racial hierarchies, and of cultural/ideological processes that foster the subordination of the periphery in the capitalist world-system‖ (Grosfoguel, 2008:10). However, according to Grosfoguel, postcolonial critiques focus on agents of colonial cultures, while world-system critiques focus on structures of capital accumulation. He perceives a divide in terms of disciplinary associations: postcolonial critiques tend to come from academics in the humanities in areas related to literature, cultural studies or rhetoric, while world-systems critiques tend to come from academics in social sciences in areas related to politics, economics and sociology. Gosfoguel affirms that while postcolonial theory tends to be limited in its analysis of political-economic relations, worldsystems theory tends to be limited in its analysis of culture: ―both literatures fluctuate between the danger of economic reductionism and the danger of
In the last part of the article. He identifies a number of questions central to debates in both camps: Can we produce a radical anti-capitalist politics beyond identity politics? Is it possible to articulate a critical cosmopolitanism beyond nationalism and colonialism? Can we produce knowledges beyond third World and Eurocentric fundamentalisms? Can we overcome the traditional dichotomy between political-economy and cultural studies? Can we move beyond economic reductionism and culturalism? How can we overcome Eurocentric modernity without throwing away the best of modernity as many Third World fundamentalists do? (Grosfoguel. not as an independent system that has expanded. Thus the aim of this article is to map implications of debates arising from what I call ‗decolonial world systems theory‘ ii for a project of global citizenship education that emphasises ‗decoloniality‘ and ‗diversality‘. In contrast. The Eurocentric paradigm constructs modernity as exclusively European. I divided this article into four parts.e. 2008:11). I summarise some implications for three dimensions of global citizenship education that may open possibilities for ‗decoloniality‘ and ‗diversality‘ and I offer my own interpretation of what ‗decoloniality‘ and ‗diversality‘ could look like in pedagogical practices. I start with a summary of more general discussions related to modernity in the works of the ‗Latin American Modernity/Coloniality Group‘. Arturo Escobar and Walter Mignolo) in their emphases on the importance to re-imagine modernity as a project of violent epistemic and territorial expansion in order to clear its past and point towards different futures. This planetary paradigm represents modernity as the product and not the cause of European . This centrality comes from the comparative advantage gained from the colonization and integration of Amerindia. I briefly outline the perspectives of four Latin American scholars writing in conversation with one another (Enrique Dussel. I present a summary of Boaventura de Souza Santos‘ metaphor of abyssal lines and abyssal thinking. Anibal Quijano. within this paradigm Europe is believed to have exceptional internal characteristics (i. which became its first ‗periphery‘. something that develops in the middle ages and that subsequently expands to other parts of the world. the planetary paradigm positions Europe as the ‗centre‘ of a world system. Third. The modernity coloniality group: introducing the ‘darker side’ of modernity The Argentinean sociologist Enrique Dussel (1998) asserts that the question of modernity is characterised by two opposing paradigms: the Eurocentric and the planetary. 2008:1) These questions – and others presented later – seem to be key in moving debates around global citizenship beyond Eurocentrism and unexamined universality. Second. as well as his call for an ‗ecology of knowledges‘ that is based on ‗an alternative way to think about alternatives‘.culturalism‖ (Grosfoguel. He argues that. I explore concepts related to ‗epistemic racism‘ in the work of Nelson Maldonado-Torres. rationality) that justify its superiority over other cultures.
In this sense. according to the needs of capital and to the benefit of white European peoples (Escobar 2004:218).on the other hand . Mignolo asserts that: ―the colonized areas of the world were targets of Christianization and the civilizing mission. Heidegger and the ‗post-modernists‘) that have been important.84). This coloniality can be conceptualised as a global hegemonic model of power in place since the conquest of the Americas that articulated race and labour. philosophy and the history of ideas. derived from Europe‘s position as centre‖ (Escobar 2004:217). . colonialism is conceptualised as an Eurocentric process of expansion of a mode of knowing and representation ―that claims universality for itself. Walter Mignolo (2002) distinguishes two macronarratives that can be associated with the paradigms described by Dussel: that of Western civilisation and that of modern world systems. locating its beginning in ancient Greece and the beginning of modernity in the eighteenth century.17). Another Argentinian scholar. Quijano‘s coloniality of power features as the overall dimension of modernity (its ‗darker side‘). even when part of the canon is critical of modernity (p. The modern world-system/planetary modernity macronarratives are centred on an articulation of power based on space rather than a succession of events in linear time. He concludes that such a movement reproduces ―the blind epistemic ethnocentrism that makes difficult. Mignolo argues that both metanarratives have their own defenders and critics and he places Dussel in-between the two. if not impossible. while the latter is a narrative of the social sciences that situates the beginning of the process of world-systems formation in the fifteenth century and links it to capitalism. after five centuries of development. rather than derivative from modernity. then coloniality is: ―…on the one hand .g. space and peoples.what the project of modernity needs to rule out and roll over. in order to implant itself as modernity and .planetarization and Eurocentrism as the super-ideology that establishes the legitimacy of the domination of the world system by its centre. The Peruvian sociologist Anibal Quijano (1997) has called this articulation of power ―coloniality of power‖. modernization.the site of enunciation where the blindness of the modern project is revealed. and they became the target of development. Nietzsche. If modernity is conceptualised as the project of the Christian and secular West.66). but that have not been able to go beyond Eurocentrism. and concomitantly also the site where new projects begin to unfold. the former is a philosophical narrative associated with literature. Dussel (1998) argues that the crises of modernity. and the new marketplace as the project of the modern worldsystem‖ (p. Mignolo (2002) claims that it is problematic to think from the canon of Western philosophy. as the peripheral world does not appear to be more than a passive spectator. ―still in need of being modernized‖ (p. justifying its ‗management‘ functions. emerges from internal critiques (e. In a similar way. It sees colonialism as constitutive of modernity. According to Mignolo. (e-mail exchange between Mignolo and Escobar cited in Escobar 2004:218). as the project of the narrative of Western civilization. any political philosophy of inclusion‖ (ibid).
according to Mignolo is based on a different concept of time: Since the Renaissance . For the second paradigm that considers modernity the rational management of a world-system. The colonial difference is an effect of coloniality that.13). peoples. or ideas. he identifies his own position. a ―connector that…refers to the changing faces of colonial differences throughout the history of the modern/colonial world-system and brings to the foreground the planetary dimension of human history silenced by discourses centering on modernity. Mignolo justifies his position by stating that . Michel Foucault) and philosophy of liberation (p. of ‗overcoming the world system itself‖ by formulating an ‗ethics of liberation‘ defined as ‗transmodern‘. a different locus of enunciation that. speaking from the world periphery (the colonial difference). Mignolo (2002) expands on the planetary paradigm and the concept of coloniality by introducing the notion of colonial difference. 2002:80). He asserts that colonial expansion was also the expansion of (European) forms of knowledge. Jürgen Habermas. Arrangements of events and people in a time line is also a hierarchical order. distinguishing primary sources of thought from interesting or curious events. An ethics and philosophy of liberation imply that the location of the speaker. which refers to an acknowledgement of the construction of the ―classification of the planet in the Modern/Colonial imaginary‖ (p. can be either foreclosed or revealed (ibid). Karl-Otto Apel.21). Dussel asserts that he is coming from a different starting point from critical theory and from continental philosophy. Dussel (1998) also argues that the Eurocentric paradigm that conceptualizes modernity as ―an exclusively European phenomenon that expanded from the seventeenth century on throughout all the backward cultures‖ (p. her/his experience of colonial difference needs to be revealed and become the starting point for thinking. relegating them to before or below from the perspective of the ‗‗holders (of the doors) of time‘‘. His concept of colonial difference can be described as a loci of enunciation. Time is also the point of reference for the order of knowledge. postmodernity.the early modern period or emergence of the modern/colonial world – time has functioned as a principle of order that increasingly subordinates places. even if critical of colonialism and that the Eurocentric paradigm of modernity has been blind to the subalternisation of non-european knowledges. The second says that modernity does not have any positive qualities and propose that the project should be abandoned (he asserts that the postmodernists are its defenders). as one intending to ―recoup what is redeemable in modernity and to halt the practice s of domination and exclusion in the world system‖ (p.18) can generate two positions about the future. The first position says that modernity needs to be concluded (he asserts that Habermas and Apel defend this position). and Western civilization‖ (Mignolo.20) – a project of liberation of the periphery. The discontinuity between being and time and coloniality of being and place is what nourishes Dussel‘s need to underline the difference (the colonial difference) between continental philosophy (Vattimo.In an attempt to formulate this political philosophy of inclusion. as Mignolo points out.
The second limit is poverty (the destruction of humanity). Quijano and Escobar attempt to create a common ground for peoples in the periphery by proposing that the colonial difference should be the starting point for knowledge and thinking. They claim that their ‗border‘ position should be revealed and become the epistemological position where people ‗speak from‘ (i. . according to Dussel. Non-European epistemologies and ontologies are translated into universalised European epistemological parameters as inferior. or it is so different that its credentials to be genuine philosophy will always be in doubt‘‘ (p. For Dussel. The third limit is the impossibility of the subsumption of peoples and cultures through modernisation processes. 1998). this limit is marked by the conceptualisation of nature as an exploitable object that exists to increase the rate of profit of capital. In relation to this third limit. This violence affects cultural difference: ―those who stubbornly i nsist on maintaining their own vision of ‗progress‘ or ‗reason‘ face the danger of being isolated.217).e. and epistemic) emerged as responses to the propagation of an epistemology that was assumed to have universal value across time and space‖ (p. As a double critique. accumulation and consumerism. Dussel. This is illustrated by Mignolo with reference to the ‗double bind‘ facing African philosophers according to Bernasconi (cited in Mignolo. 2002:245).70). This limit is marked by the unequal distribution of wealth and labour caused by a an economy that sanctions exploitation. 2000:87). This movement of subalternisation and normalisation is generally referred to as the ‗epistemic violence‘ of colonialism. time acts as a principle that arbitrates and ranks both knowledge and being (i. The implication is that within discourses of progress and civilisation. Mignolo.e. 2002): ―[e]ither African philosophy is so similar to Western philosophy that it makes no distinctive contribution and effectively disappears. less evolved. erroneous or eccentric ‗culturally tainted‘ derivatives. impoverished and discriminated against‖ (Canagarajah. primitive. The first is the ecological destruction of the planet. a locus of enunciation). economic. border thinking affirms the maxim: ‗I am where I think‘ (89). Mignolo conceptualises border thinking as an epistemic mode that works as a ‗double critique‘ to crack the imaginary of the modern/colonial world system away from Eurocentrism as an epistemological perspective. Colombian anthropologist. The end of this Eurocentric and civilizing system of Western epistemology.69). This is marked by movements of resistance (Dussel.―global designs (religious. border thinking establishes ―alliances with the internal critique of modernity […] at the same time that it marks the irreducible difference of border thinking as a critique from the colonial difference‖ (Mignolo. is marked by three limits. in such a way that it has subalternised other local histories and designs‖ (p. who counts as human). As an epistemic mode. Arturo Escobar (2004) summarises Mignolo‘s point asserting that ―the seeming triumph of Eurocentered modernity can be seen as the imposition of a global design by a particular local history. social. From a similar standpoint.
but recognise its limits in the foreclosure of colonial difference. if the darker side of modernity is forgotten. For Maldonado -Torres. what results is a kind of universalism located in a ‗spaceless‘ realm. Nelson Maldonado-Torres: epistemic racism Puerto Rican philosopher Maldonado-Torres (2004). post-modernism and post-structuralism). Quijano and Mignolo. tends to reproduce blindness. this neutral epistemic subject will tend to believe that s/he alone can ―map the world and draw associatio ns between thinking and space‖(30) that are valid for all the rest of humanity.Escobar (2004) summarises the theoretical differential of the Latin American Modenity/Coloniality Research Group as: 1) the location of the origins of modernity in the fifteenth century – with the conquest of America and the control of the Atlantic.e. such belief in neutrality. 5) the formulation of the link between modernity and coloniality represented in the notion of Eurocentrism as a mode of knowing and hegemonic representation derived from Europe‘s position as centre that claims universality for itself. as an analytical tool. as coloniality. 4) the identification of domination of non-Europeans as a central and necessary feature of modernity. this analytical tool brings to the surface the ‗darker side of modernity‘: the fact that modernity depends on coloniality for its existence. (2004:30) . This spacelessness prompts the emergence of an epistemicaly neutral subject who speaks from Europe (or America/Canada) as a privileged epistemic site adopting ―a universalistic perspective that does away with the significance of geopolitical location‖ (37). Their proposal for political articulation can be summarised as ―the need to take seriously the epistemic force of local histories and to think theory through the political praxis of subaltern groups‖ (Escobar 2004:217). I would like to suggest. coloniality of power ―links together racial formation. Quijano and others. 2) the conceptualisation of colonialism. For Maldonado-Torres. but in relation to non-European ways of thinking and to the production and reproduction of the imperial/colonial relation. the control of labor. deploys ‗coloniality of power‘ as an analytical tool that could counter the forgetting of spaciality (expansionist control of lands). The group acknowledges the importance of the internal critique of modernity (i. drawing on the work of Mignolo. epistemic racism (elimination and subjugation of difference) and geopolitics of knowledge production (epistemic violence) in Eurocentric accounts of the making of modernity. this alleged neutrality and universality. the state and knowledge production‖ (39). 3) the adoption of the planetary paradigm which sees modernity as a world – rather than an European – phenomenon. in turn. He defends that. Hence. following the work of the Peruvian sociologist Anibal Quijano. not in regard to space as such. Maldonado-Torres (2004) proposes that. or what I would like to refer to. produces epistemic blindness: At the end. postcolonialism and imperialism as constitutive of modernity.
Habermas and Derrida. Epistemic racism disregards the epistemic capacity of certain groups of people. This rescuing of modernity generally takes the form of a critique of universals that. He also associates this search for roots with epistemic racism. but something that seemed to make him the target of annihilation. at the same. destruction and epistemic will to power—with good conscience (2004:36). had an intimation into this reality. fail to challenge the racist geopolitics of knowledge at the heart of Western discourse and.Maldonado-Torres (2004) associates the allegedly neutral-universal stance with the search for European (or ‗Western‘) roots. hence. MaldonadoTorres defines this kind of racism as a systemic amnesia that forgets geopolitical relations at work in the making of modernity. He affirms that these authors reproduce a belief that is at the heart of the project of modernity: the be lief that ―people cannot get by without Europe‘s theoretical and cultural achievements‖ (32). by leaving out questions of spaciality and coloniality. reproduce epistemic racism. Levinas. Hence. This results in the non-recognition of radically different epistemologies: As all forms of racism. Being was not something that opened to him the realm of signification. a racialized and persecuted subject. Such critiques. Levinas. this search for European roots results in an epistemic blindness constitutive of both modernity and postmodernity. It may be based on metaphysics or ontology but its results are nonetheless the same: the evasion of the recognition of others as fully human beings (2004:34) The criteria for full humanity relates to one‘s capacity for intellectual creativity and rationality defined in European terms (Maldonado-Torres. He asserts that critics of Eurocentrism who are firmly grounded in Eurocentrism itself tend to critique modernity at the same time that they try to rescue it. a sickness that could be likened to a state of amnesia that leads to murder.(2004:43) Maldonado-Torres (2004) notes that conceptions of Being in the works of thinkers ideologically located in Europe differ from those who focus on the way ―different subjects with different histories and memories experience modernity and respond to its legacies in the contemporary world‖(42). epistemic racism is linked with politics and sociality. reaffirms . Negri. Maldonado-Torres refers to this subject position as the ‗coloniality of being‘: Coloniality of Being suggests that Being in some way militates against one‘s own existence. a will to ignorance that Maldonado-Torres translates (with reference to the work of Frantz Fanon) as the ‗forgetfulness of damnation‘. those who are perceived to lack both intellectual and rational capacity are regarded as not-fully-human. Hence.(45): The forgetfulness of the damned is part of the veritable sickness of the West. which characterises the works of influential philosophers such as Heidegger. 2004).
where difference is domesticated to become palatable and confirm the universalism of European reason. For Maldonado-Torres. However. Maldonado-Torres (2004) is also critical of ‗multicultural‘ attempts to ‗include‘ different voices in Eurocentric sites of conversation. He wanted to bring into view what had remained invisible for centuries. decolonial and cosmopolitan. these absences relate back to those who are ‗damned‘: Taking Du Bois and Wynter‘s lead. as the Latin American group emphasise. He states that ―we would need to introduce ideas that emerge from the experience of colonization and persecution of different subjectivities‖ (44). I would like to suggest that from the perspectives of the repeatedly racialized groups of modernity. These ‗multicultural‘ sites of dialogue are grounded on a belief in dialectical thinking that forecloses its own parameters of intelligibility (or palatability). he poses a begged question: How can one communicate with subjects who are a priorily suspected of lacking reason? Part of the answer. for Maldonado-Torres is the introduction of geopolitical relations in the narratives of modernity in order to make its ‗darker side‘ visible. He states that this kind of multiculturalism ―hides in this way a deeper multiracism that only recognizes the right for difference when peoples are well domesticated by capitalism. particularly indigenous people and people of African or Afro-mixed exslave descent. but also Jews and Muslims. and their supposed overcoming by the emergence of imperial sovereignty or Empire. miss the non-dialectical character of Damnation (2004:42) In order to address this damnation.Europe as a site of epistemic privilege (especially in relation to ‗critical thinking‘): This form of hegemonic identity politics would not be so problematic if it did not assume that the critique of instrumental reason is enough to account for the logic of coloniality. a concept of Being premised on what is often referred to as the dialectics of modernity and the nation. This leads to a forgetting of constitutive absences in dialectical process. oppression and suffering. He uses Frantz Fanon‘s project of decoloniality as an example: Fanon‘s philosophical geopolitics were transgressive. There is in much of critical thinking the tendency to recognize critical thought only when it uses the terms of debate that derive from consideration of certain coordinates typically located in crucial spaces for the production of modern and postmodern ideologies (2004: 40-41). the market economy and liberal ideals of freedom and equality‖ (49). Maldonado-Torres (2004) calls for a transgression of Eurocentric boundaries. He was claiming the need for the recognition of difference as well as the need for decolonization as an absolute requirement for the proper recognition of human difference and the . the unequal distribution of vulnerabilities.
its achievements and its failures. Rather than trying to find roots in the earth. Fanon proposed responding responsibly to the damned of the earth (2004:36). its achievements and its failures. Nonexistent means not existing in any relevant or comprehensible way of being. he contrasts Fanon‘s project of decolonization as a dislocation of the subject. abyssal thinking If decolonization is ―the creation of a new symbolic and material order that takes the full spectrum of human history. this side of the line only prevails by exhausting the field of relevant reality. Whatever is produced as nonexistent is radically excluded because it lies beyond the realm of what the accepted conception of inclusion considers to be its other. Boaventura de Souza Santos’ (2007): abyssal lines. To the extent that it prevails. This side of history is what neither Heidegger nor Levinas could see—or did not want to see. Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Souza Santos (2007) offers a metaphor that enacts this project and complements Maldonado-Torres‘ (2004) contribution to a conversation on the possibility of an approach to global citizenship education that emphasises decoloniality and diversality. . Their search for European roots blinded them to this kind of decolonial geopolitics. He defines abyssal thinking as a system consisting of visible distinctions which are based on invisible distinctions that are established through a logic that defines social reality as either on ‗this side of the abyssal line‘ or on ‗the other side of the abyssal line‘ He explains: The division is such that ―the other side of the line‖ vanishes as reality becomes nonexistent. and is indeed produced as non-existent. Santos (2007) asserts that Modern Western thinking operates as ‗abyssal thinking‘. In this sense. Instead of giving primacy to the search for roots in Europe or elsewhere. What most fundamentally characterizes abyssal thinking is thus the impossibility of the copresence of the two sides of the line. into view‖. His concept of abyssal lines and abyssal thinking make the coloniality of power more visible and accessible to those who have not engaged with these ideas before. Fanon‘s decolonial consciousness aims to dislocate the subject through the awareness of a response to those who are locked in positions of subordination. with Levinas‘ and Heidegger‘s search for European roots: Decolonization is about the creation of a new symbolic and material order that takes the full spectrum of human history.achievement of a post-colonial and post-European form of humanism (2004:36). Maldonado-Torres‘ (2004) project involves a process of epistemic transformation and decolonial cosmopolitanism leading to a movement towards radical diversality: ―a critique of roots that brings into light both coloniality and the epistemic potential of non-European epistemes‖ (30). into view.
2007). The project of a homogeneous future justifies the violence and appropriation carried out in its name (Quijano‘s coloniality of power).Beyond it. One example is the distinction between scientific truth and falsehood. legal. As a result. on the other side of the abyssal line. may become objects or raw materials for scientific enquiry‖ (2). made invisible both as agencies and as agents. on this side of the line. Santos (2007) argues that the struggle for global social justice is inseparable from the struggle for global cognitive justice and that both struggles require ‗post-abyssal thinking‘ (5). In legal terms. This denial of co-presence translates into a hegemonic contact that ―converts simultaneity with non-contemporaneity [making up] pasts to make room for a single homogeneous future‖ (3) (hence a search for roots in Europe or in the ‗West‘!). This universality. on ‗the other side of the line‘ ―there is no real knowledge. The result is that. in many spaces ―turning the colonial into an internal dimension of the metropolitan‖ (2007:9). He also acknowledges that the displacements of the line have affected the distinction between the metropolitan and the colonial in recent times. He states that the Modern Abyssal line is not fixed. separates true and false. which calls not for ‗more . as seen from ‗this side of the line‘. State. Santos (2007) refers to this trashing of epistemologies as ‗epistemicide‘ (16). which. it is ‗this side of the line‘ that determines what is legal and illegal based on State or International Law. He associates ‗this side of the line‘ (i. metropolitan societies) with the paradigm of regulation/emancipation and the ‗other side‘ (i. shifting colonial territories) with appropriation and violence (committed by ‗this side of the line‘). non−dialectical absence (2007:2). 2007:3). according to Santos (2007) is premised on the invisibility of ways of knowing that do not fit parameters of acceptability established by Modern knowledge. International. and with no fixed territorial location (Santos. at the most. there are beliefs.e. which is projected as universal.e. eliminating the possibilities and experiences of social realms where such distinctions (i. legal and illegal. Modern Abyssal thinking thrives in the making and radicalization of distinctions that make the abyssal line in which they are grounded invisible. The other side of the line comprises a vast set of discarded experiences. a vast array of cognitive experiences are wasted.e. law and science in their abyssal mode of operation (akin to Maldonado-Torres‘ epistemic blindness and racism towards the ‗damned‘) . one part of humanity (considered sub-human). but that its position at any one time is heavily controlled and policed. there is only nonexistence. invisibility. This implies that political resistance must be ― premised upon epistemological resistance‖ (10). Thus. intuitive or subjective understandings. illegal) would be unimaginable as forms of organization: This radical denial of co-presence grounds the affirmation of the radical difference that. is sacrificed in order to affirm the universality of the part of humanity on this side of the line (Santos. opinions.
or the . that is. but also many and very diverse concepts of what counts as knowledge and the criteria that may be used to validate it. needs a sociology of emergences (2004) which involves ―the symbolic amplification of signs. and latent tendencies that. Such alternative way of thinking about alternatives. This recognition of epistemological diversity beyond scientific knowledge. for Santos (2007). clues. the ‗ecology of knowledges‘ he proposes aims to enable epistemological consistency for pluralistic. propositional thinking‖ (2007:12) where scientific knowledge is not discredited.alternatives‘ but for an ―alternative thinking about alternatives‖(10) (akin to Mignolo‘s ‗border thinking‘ and Maldonado-Torres‘ decolonial project towards diversality). there is no unity of ignorance either‖ (12). we probably need a residual general epistemological requirement to move along: a general epistemology of the impossibility of a general epistemology (Santos. life and spirit. but also a ‗radical co -presence‘. on the one hand in exploring the internal plurality of science. 2007). He suggests that the ecology of knowledges not only requires a break from the mono-epistemicism of ‗this side‘ of the abyssal line. the limits and value of knowledges are attributed according to the notion of ‗knowledge-as-intervention-in-reality‘ and not ‗knowledge as-a-representation-of-reality‘ (Santos. not only are there very diverse forms of knowledge of matter. on the other hand. 2007:13). He proposes that ―the credibility of cognitive construction [be] measured by the type of intervention in the world that it affords or prevents‖ (ibid). however inchoate and fragmented point to new constellations of meaning as regards both to the understanding and the transformation of the world‖ (2007:10). alternative scientific practices that have been made visible by feminist and postcolonial epistemologies and. entails a renouncing of any general epistemology. In Santos‘ (2007) ecology of knowledges. from this side of the abyssal line. in promoting the interaction and interdependence between scientific and non-scientific knowledges (2007:13) Within the ecology of knowledges. Santos (2007) advocates for an ‗ecology of knowledges‘ based on a recognition of the ―plurality of heterogeneous knowledges (one of them being modern science) and on the sustained and dynamic interconnections between them without compromising their autonomy‖ (11). knowledges and ignorances intersect: ―as there is no unity of knowledge. Given the interdependence of knowledges and ignorances. Hence. in which abyssal versions of totality and unity of knowledge still resist. the ideal would be to create ‗inter-knowledges‘ where learning other knowledges does not mean forgetting one‘s own (Santos. In the transitional period we are entering. but used in counter hegemonic ways: Such use consists. However. society. a recognition of cultural diversity does not necessarily translate into a recognition of epistemological diversity (his critique is similar to Maldonado-Torres‘ critique of multiculturalism). 2007:12). he asserts that Throughout the world. He suggests that.
Maldonado-Torres (2004) and Santos (2007) presented so far open different possibilities for creating meaning in relation to at least three inter-dependent dimensions of global citizenship education. This is what makes it a prudent knowledge. which involves the abandonment of the notion of linear time‖ (11) (as Mignolo also proposes) and ―the cultivation of a spontaneity that refuses to ‗deduce the potential from the actual‖ (17). not a general ignorance. The ecology of knowledges enables us to have a much broader vision of what we do not know. and also to be aware that what we do not know is our own ignorance. The third is how educators imagine knowledge and learning beyond Eurocentric paradigms. the strongest message of the conceptual syntheses is that moving beyond Eurocentrism requires an account of the ‗darker side of modernity‘ through an understanding of the coloniality of power (i. In terms of how educators imagine the globe. Hence each knowledge is both insufficient and inter-dependent on other knowledges‖ (Santos. The second is how educators imagine themselves as ‗global educators‘ and their students as ‗global citizens‘. The ecology of knowledges is a destabilizing epistemology to the extent that it engages in a radical critique of the politics of the possible without yielding to an impossible politics (Santos. I propose that the conceptual syntheses of the works of Mignolo (2002). Similarly. Escobar (2004). Santos (2007) summarises post-abyssal thinking as ―learning from the South through an epistemology of the South‖ (11). I offer a situated analysis of the implications for each dimension with key questions that could guide the pursuit of further conversations towards more emphasis on decoloniality and diversality (beyond eurocentrism) in global citizenship work. The first is how educators imagine the ‗globe‘ in global citizenship and education. In this sense. Maldonado-Torres‘ work emphasises . all of them are incomplete in different ways. Mignolo proposes an emphasis on colonial difference as a recognition of the ―classification of the planet in the Modern/Colonial imaginary‖(2000:13) and of the epistemic violences of modernity and their effects. as well as of what we do know. 2007:17).―conflation of contemporaneity with simultaneity. Such thinking should confront the mono-epistemicism of ‗this side‘ of the Abyssal line with an ecology of knowledges. Quijano (1997).e. seeing colonialism as constitutive of modernity rather than derivative from it).(2007:18) So what? Now what? Implications for global citizenship education In this article. It is in the nature of the ecology of knowledges to establish itself through constant questioning and incomplete answers. 2007:17) This drive towards egalitarian simultaneity is based on an idea of incompleteness: ―since no single type of knowledge can account for all possible interventions in the world. Dussel (1998).
Questions that could guide further explorations in relation to how the globe is imagined in global citizenship could include: how is modernity defined in global citizenship work? What political and ideological frames ground this understanding? How is the relationship between modernity and colonialism defined? Whose notion of time and progress is deployed in this conceptualisation? What analysis of power relations is at work? How are abyssal lines established? How are they contested? What counts as knowledge and whose knowledge counts? A recognition of problems of representation takes us to the second dimension I would like to explore: how educators see themselves and their students in relation to the globe. may prompt educators to believe that development and progress can only be measured by the allegedly universal parameters that they know and which they believe are a result of natural human evolution. repress or ‗damn‘ ‗other‘ epistemologies. 2007: 2). which. researching or studying who. there are beliefs. why and how come)? What are . Maldonado-Torres raises important issues that arise when the ‗darker side of modernity‘ is not acknowledged. MaldonadoTorres associates epistemic racism with an ‗amnesia‘ of the geopolitical making of modernity. For the neutral-universalist subject Maldonado-Torres (2004) and Santos (2007) suggest that they should take account of ‗where they are speaking from‘: in terms of the geopolitical economy of knowledge production for Maldonado-Torres (2004) and in terms of the abyssal line for Santos (2007). charity. may become objects or raw materials for scientific enquiry‖ (Santos.the need to infuse global citizenship education theories and practices with reflections on the geopolitics and spaciality of knowledge production. this amnesia can lead to the assumption that on ‗the other side‘ of the abyss. Santos (2007) metaphor of abyssal lines helps with both propositions. They also warn against attempts to domesticate difference and include different voices (to tick the box of Eurocentric tolerance) only ‗as long as‘ these voices say what the neutral-universalist subject wants to hear (Maldonado-Torres. This amnesia. – who is helping. ―there is no real knowledge. Santos‘ (2007) metaphor can also assist educators in recognising some of the problems of representation that arise when someone on ‗this side of the line‘ wants to speak about. Hence.g. as a dispenser or receiver of knowledge. He warns of the dangers of adopting a neutral-universalist stance that results in epistemic racism and will to power and that reproduces the myth that other cultures would not get by without Europe (or USA/Canada/the ‗West‘). at the most. can help educators recognise the mechanisms that privilege European/Western epistemologies and ‗forget‘. intuitive or subjective understandings. 2004). for or with ‗the other side‘. Understanding the historical effects of abyssal lines on both sides of the line. silence. An awareness and analysis of abyssal divisions could be the first step to interrupt the reproduction of abyssal thinking in global citizenship education. Questions that could lead to further explorations in relation to this dimension include: Where is one speaking from as a ‗global citizen‘ or ‗global educator‘? How is one socially and historically constituted in this position (e. etc. opinions. on ‗this side‘ of Santos‘ (2007) abyssal line. rights.
culture and identities as ‗verbs‘ (Bhabha. into view‖ (Maldonado-Torres. 2004). In Mignolo‘s (2000) words this space needs to accord people ―the right to be different because they are equals‖ (311). for those on ‗this side of the line‘ and those crossing. For those who are able to cross from the ‗other‘ side of the abyssal line to ‗this side‘. This space demands an ―alternative thinking of alternatives‖ (Santos. 2007: 10). He states that this examination is more about ―searching for invisible faces than searching for imperial roots. political and social memories‖ (2000:51). Maldonado-Torres‘ (2004) and Mignolo‘s (2000. For this space to grant equality. 1994) and resists homogenisations while affirming specificities.2002) insistence on diversality requires the making of a space for ―the enunciation and exp ression of nonWestern cosmologies and for the expression of different cultural. The implication for education is that educators would need to let go of the aspiration for fixed blueprints of futures and ideal societies (projected from a single worldview to be imposed worldwide) that are traditionally constitutive of . Mignolo (2000) calls for the use of border thinking as an epistemic principle that aims to crack the Modern/colonial imaginary making the darker side of modernity and the coloniality of power visible. its achievements and its failures. This space would help make visible the existential conditions of people with different legacies. Similarly. as well as of our own complicity with patterns of domination. This would require ―the creation of a new symbolic and material order that takes the full spectrum of human history. Mignolo (2002). He calls for an examination of the mechanisms that create subordination and invisibility.the non-negotiable universals in a global citizenship project (if there are any)? Whose perspectives are represented in these universals? Whose epistemology forms the basis of this project? Whose perspectives or epistemologies could have been silenced or absent in this project? Does this work reinforce the belief that people cannot get by without European/American help. This alternative thinking needs to conceptualise knowledge. cosmologies and aspirations for the transformation of the world and of the ego (MaldonadoTorres. ideas or intervention? How can we move beyond depoliticised projects that focus on individual skills towards a broader understanding of ideology. fear. Maldonado-Torres (2004) proposes a ―decolonial grammar of critical analysis which would recognise its own vulnerability‖(52). it cannot be based on dialectics (as constitutive of European universalist epistemologies) or a veiled aspiration for consensus (as also constitutive of European universalist epistemologies). 2004:36). 2004:534) through over socialisation ‗on this side of the line‘ that affirms that ‗the price of greatness is responsibility for the other‘ (ibid)? How do we support learners in the difficult stages of this undoing when they face the uncertainty. Maldonado-Torres (2004) and Santos (2007) propose complementary projects that suit different subject positions. anger and possible paralysis that comes in the early stages of the renegotiation of (and of disenchantment with) epistemic privilege? In terms of imagining knowledge and learning beyond Eurocentric paradigms. more about radical critique than about orthodox alignments against what are persistently conceived as the barbarians of knowledge‖(2004:51). culture and political-economies? How can we undo the ―consciousness of superiority lodged in the self‖ (Spivak.
contingent and inter-dependent)? 4)How can one do this successfully without reproducing the belief that precisely by doing this ―I am necessarily better. 2002) in the suggestion that in post-abyssal thinking. the will to transform (the coloniality of power or abyssal lines) ―should precede the will to truth‖ (which anchors the coloniality of power/abyssal lines) (Mignolo. this would require what Trinidadian scholar Jacqui Alexander (2005) has called a re-scrambling of ‗our here and now‘ (of this side of the abyssal line) with the ‗then and there‘ (that we attribute to the other side) towards a ‗here and there‘ and ‗then and now‘ (2005:190). I am necessarily the end product for which history happened‖ (Spivak. In education. I would add five one million-dollar questions to his list: 1)How can one engage with different epistemologies ethically. static and independent – rather than dynamic. they bring to the fore the problematic and provisional nature of creating a general epistemology that could work in the unmaking the abyssal lines. essentialising or romaticising them? 2) How can one interrupt one‘s own assumptions in order to engage with other epistemologies on their own terms? 3) How can one avoid absolute relativism (i. an abandonment of the idea that the first/Developed/Western world is ahead in progress/time). 2007:13). Maldonado-Torres (2004) suggests some questions that could guide this kind of work in global citizenship education: Why not engaging seriously Muslim intellectuals? Why not trying to understand the deeply theoretical claims that have emerged in contexts that have known European coloniality? Why not breaking with the model of the universal or global and furthering the growth of an epistemically diverse world? (2004:50). 2000:26). Santos (2007) aligns with Mignolo (2000. knowledge systems seen as homogeneous. The notions of an ecology of knowledges and post-abyssal thinking proposed by Santos (2007) complement the idea of diversality defended by Mignolo (2000. I am necessarily the one who rights wrongs. In addition. Santos (2007) also aligns with Mignolo (2000.see Andreotti 2010).the project of schooling (as imagined from an European perspective and imposed around the world).e. and certainties: chaos. This entails a renegotiation of epistemic privilege (on this side of the line) that is pedagogically difficult as it is generally perceived first as a loss (of grounds. the end of everything .2002) in his call for an abandonment of the notion of linear time (and hierarchical categories such as traditional/modern) that enables the conflation of contemporaneity with simultaneity (i. ecologies of knowledge or projects of diversality. I am necessarily indispensable. they emphasise the need to rethink the parameters of validation and limits of knowledge and truth in terms of ―knowledge-asintervention-in-reality‖ rather than ―knowledge as-a-representation-of-reality‖ (Santos. Second. 2004: 532)? 5) How can one avoid creating new abyssal lines in the work against abyssal lines? These questions are part of a debate . responsibly and critically without homogenizing. First they focus on the inter-relations and insufficiency of all knowledge systems.e. 2002) and Maldonado-Torres (2004) in three different ways.
Conclusions: towards a pedagogy of dissensus So. a focus on the development of hyper-self-reflexivity.even those that could potentially sanction dangerous neoliberal practices and reinforce abyssal lines. as well as the educators‘ ability to negotiate between discourses‘ (i.that is ongoing and they highlight the fact that the inclusion of ‗Other‘ epistemologies and the undoing of abyssal lines in pedagogical work (or anywhere else) cannot be a quick fix exercise with simple ‗tick-this-box‘ standards of success (Spivak. as well as a number of key characteristics. Although there are some safeguards in the ideas outlined here against absolute relativism and identity politics.e. 2004). This space is extremely useful for those who can re-work these discourses and interfere in the geopolitical economy of knowledge production . simplified version of it (which is a serious possibility given the increasing instrumentalist drive in education). ambiguity. which can be seen as official producers of neutral-universal subjectivities firmly grounded on ‗this side of the abyssal line‘? My response to the first question is that global citizenship work informed by these principles would show a high level of engagement with ‗other‘ epistemologies and social movements. and a pedagogical emphasis on dissensus in order to support learners in the development of their ability to hold paradoxes and not be overwhelmed by complexity. what would decoloniality and diversality look like in global citizenship education practice? And are educational projects that emphasise decoloniality. border thinking or ecologies of knowledge ‗possible‘ in contemporary educational institutions. In my own work I have found it very useful to make strategic alliances in spaces privileging internal critiques of modernity .g. not as a form of hyper-rationality. My situated response to the second question related to the feasibility of this kind of work in contemporary educational institutions is that ‗it depends on the discursive possibilities at work in a specific context. of a neoliberal educational agenda) and interpretation in a specific context (e. post-abyssal thinking. These would include (but not be exclusive to): a strong emphasis on the geopolitics of knowledge production in order to enable learners to face abyssal lines and work through their unmaking. uncertainty and difference. there is still a risk of territorializing difference and homogenizing modernity if educators adopt a half-baked. - - My postcolonial lens would also like to see in this ‗decolonial global citizenship‘ a commitment to ongoing critical engagement with decolonial theory itself. My argument is that between enunciation (e. their ability to ‗border think‘). teachers ‗on the ground‘) lies a space of negotiation and creative opportunity that is always pregnant with (risky) possibilities. conflict.g. diversality. such as discourses of knowledge societies and ‗21st century education‘. but as an opening to modes of being not anchored in (allegedly) universal reason.
Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge the Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary for their hospitality and support towards the completion of this work through the Dr. every loss a discovery. is as a cultural broker. and to learn from (and through) ways of being and knowing both similar and different to those Eduardo Galeano (1991) describes in ‗The Book of Embraces‘: In these countries. But I believe this is an ideal worth working for both in my personal/spiritual and professional lives. This embrace and poetics of being. as Spivak reminds us time after time: there are never any guarantees (2004).e. Courage is born of fear. border thinking) takes precedence over the compulsive description of reality-as-truth (which characterizes a project of neutralityuniversality). the god Eleggua carries death in the nape of his neck and life in his face. But. of doubt. The role of an educator. answers continually emerging local/global needs for traditions and repertoires of countercultural resistance to monocultural forces of university. According to Cartwright (2003) these ways of being offer a ‗polyrhythmic poetics of becoming‘ that is [s]imultaneously postmodern. one day. monologic patterns of identity and being plantationed in us (p. most of the time. Dreams announce the possibility of another reality. Every promise is a threat. my students ‗on this side of the line‘ will have no difficulty or anxiety (or offer resistance) to engage ethically at a personal level. the possibility of transformation of meaning and abyssal likes (i. negotiating between discursive systems: disrupting old patters and creating new possibilities (always already embedded. This drive translates into the I hope that.by displacing or interrupting certain constructions of meaning and enabling others. monotheistic canons of scriptural authority. as seen from this perspective. constrained and enabled by the context). predictable and easily measurable outcomes that provide a sense of immediate reward and satisfaction to ‗client-learners‘ (and the kind of education I am talking about does not fit such scripts very easily). and out of delirium emerges another kind of reason (25). In this kind of work.170). Beyond my rational response to the practicalities of better theoretically informed global citizenship education that upholds cognitive justice and epistemological pluralism lies an intuitive drive that I would like to acknowledge here. . certainty. contaminated. premodern and interior to all modernity is built upon. Arthur Clark Global Citizenship Fellowship awarded in 2010. How to develop a teacher education programme around this is a different (and more problematic) matter as it will need to respond to institutions that more than often require fast. still seem a long way away in my institutionalized professional practices.
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Wallerstein. (1974). The South Atlantic Quarterly. That is why I often do not define myself as a „Brazilian‟ author or educator. . Wallerstein. Cambridge and Paris: Cambridge University Press and Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l‘Homme. Righting wrongs. i I concur with Grosfoguel who argues that national identities are “colonial constructions”(2007:18). (2004). New York: Academic Press. I. The modern world-system. Cambridge: Polity Press. (1984).Spivak. G. I. Wallerstein. I decided to use the national identities to introduce the scholars in this article to emphasise (albeit inadequately) an absence of „Other‟ voices in global citizenship education debates. Unthinking social science. ii I have chosen to focus on one representative article from six different scholars: five from Latin America and one from Portugal. However. (1991). The politics of the world economy. Accessibility (both in terms of language and online availability through creative commons agreements) was one of the criteria of selection with a view to encourage readers to engage with this literature. I. 103(2/3): 523-581.
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