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Seminar: Policyscapes of educational decentralisation: a spatial analysis of school-community relations in Northern Nigeria

Educational decentralisation policies are now widespread globally. In this paper I focus on and problematise school–community relations as a vital component of the educational decentralisation policy scape. Drawing on ethnographic studies in and around six primary schools in Adamawa State, Northern Nigeria I highlight the local complexities and tensions underlying the global imperatives of providing universal access to primary education. This paper is contextualised within a geographical region characterised by both very little intergenerational experience of schooling and minimal engagement by local communities in social and political management processes. The context is also framed by the evaluative exigencies of educational development. A spatial analysis is presented here to offer nuance to the temporal emphasis integral to these dominant discourses of development. The exploration of school–community relations centres on the school boundary that both connects and distinguishes the institution from the surrounding community. In particular, I explore the agonistic spatial and temporal regulation that operates at the school boundary, with specific attention to the different ways that students, teachers and the community comply or resist with such strategies of governmentality. In concluding, I argue for deeper engagements with the local social landscapes into which international development policies are launched as a means to think through their diverse implications and to resist accounts of local deficit that are so readily invoked when top-down policies reach communities.

Prof Máiréad Dunne

Máiréad Dunne is Professor of Sociology of Education and Former Director, Centre for International Education, University of Sussex. Máiréad's interests are in critical approaches to policy and practice with respect to inequalities, with focus on educational and social differences largely (though not exclusively) through micro-level studies of the intersecting and overlapping social relations of gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, nation and age (youth), and implications for livelihoods, equality and social development locally and globally.

The seminar is part of the open research series 'Education, the global South, and Beyond', at the Department of Education. It is being held Thursdays lunchtime, 1 to 2 pm, in the Zoom meeting room. This series aims to create an interactive space for postgraduate students, doctoral and early career researchers, scholars, research practitioners and faculty to meet in a relaxed, supportive and collaborative environment to discuss topics of international education, development and related issues. A Zoom link will also be shared on the Diversity, Equity and Education Collective (DeCol) webpage. 

DeCol is a network of international scholars, mostly doctoral, postdoctoral and early career researchers working on issues of education and development. It aims to expand research and practice in education and beyond by inclusion of multi-disciplinary perspectives, creative approaches, and contextualised understandings of multiple lived realities and experiences in diverse international contexts.

Everyone warmly welcome!


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Meeting ID: 913 3979 1423

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