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Center-staging global north-south research in the glocal-virtual age: Challenges in researching and theorizing learning, communication and diversity
Örebro universitet, Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1846-858X
Padova University, Italy.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The emergence of the knowledge society, increased global-local migration flows, the explosion of social media and disparate regional power and resource shifts, including conflicts in the new millennium have shaped not only the sociocultural fabric of human existence on our planet, but also the parameters of the research enterprise itself (Appadurai 1996). This paper aims to highlight and discuss challenges related to researching and theorizing learning with a specific focus upon issues of language and identity in present day times. Taking neo-(post)colonial points of departure, we aim to contribute to the following questions: what (newer) global north hegemonies can be identified that are involved in the research enterprise in itself in present day global-local-virtual spaces that constitute Europe? What framings allow for understanding newer and older concepts such as superdiversity and pluri/multilingualism in European geopolitical spaces? Are the largely Eurocentric conceptions regarding (super)diversities, (multi/pluri)lingualism and inclusion/exclusion, that have (re)emerged  during the recent past, an entrenchment of the colonial order under a new guise?

These questions are interrogated by drawing upon experiences from some of our own empirically framed research projects  that focus the areas of learning, communication and diversity in the physical geopolitical spaces “inside Europe” (Sweden and Italy, where we are situated as researchers) and “outside Europe” (Argentina and India particularly, where we also conduct research) on the one hand, and virtual spaces in higher education, social media and synchronous/non-synchronous interaction (for instance dropbox, facebook, mail, moodle, skype, twitter) on the other. With these as points of departure, we discuss current challenges related to the “doing of research” itself on learning and its relationship to issues of language and identity – two central domains of concern in Europe.  Using empirical examples from our projects, we will discuss the current analytical paucity of power-structures and processes in analysis that focus cultural and linguistic diversity in learning spaces in European settings. In addition we will contribute to theorizing in these domains across time and space. Our preliminary explorations suggest that the dominating theoretical framings in the educational sciences are eurocentrically flavored.

Drawing upon various turns, especially the “decolonial turn” (Maldonado-Torres 2011, Mignolo 2009) and the “boundary-turn” (Bagga-Gupta 2013) in the human sciences and the educational sciences, our intention is to center-stage the growing disparity in newer-colonial power relationships in research, including access to and the acknowledgement of different epistemologies in the learning sciences, not least when cultural and linguistic diversity are in focus (Apple & Buras 2006).

Postcolonially (compare with neo-(post)colonially) framed research has in itself, we will argue, created new epistemological hegemonies for dialoging, including epistemologies that of languaging and translanguaging, identity positionings in the research landscape in itself. Our paper will attempt to exemplify these issues (i) by attending to aspects of the social location and north-south location of the researcher and her/his subjects and field/s of study, and, (ii) the significance of empirical downscaling and micro-focusing in research (i.e. attending to local sociocultural interactions and events across spaces), including focusing different scales of empirical engagement (i.e. micro-meso-macro and multi-modal) in the research enterprise in itself. We will suggest how these allow us as researchers, research educators, policy makers, policy enforcers, to engage with issues related to newer hegemonic differentials.  These issues are significant in the domain of “Learning for Sustainable Development” and we argue that they allow for important dimensions of engagement at the level of the individual (researcher or professional), institution (department, university, school) and also policy and governance (university, research councils, nation-state, EU, etc).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
research, theory, learning, communication, diversity, decolonial, global north, global south, Europe, empirical data
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-33537OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-33537DiVA: diva2:1047517
Conference
EARLI, European Association of Research on Learning and Instruction conference: Open spaces for interaction and learning diversities.27-30 August 2014. Padova, Italy.
Note

Paper presented at the joint SIG 10, 21, 25 EARLI, European Association of Research on Learning and Instruction conference: Open spaces for interaction and learning diversities. 27-30 August 2014. Padova, Italy.

Available from: 2014-11-13 Created: 2016-11-17 Last updated: 2017-07-12Bibliographically approved

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