On the margins? : an analysis of theory and practice of development education in the 1990s

McCollum, Ann (1996). On the margins? : an analysis of theory and practice of development education in the 1990s. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e128

Abstract

This study offers, a critical analysis of the theory - and practice of development education in Britain in the 1990s, and it seeks to explore the nature and extent of the marginalization of development education and the ways in which it can be addressed through an analysis' of the internal and -external conditions which circumscribe development education practice.

It starts by charting the evolution, of development education, and identifying the major historical, cultural and theoretical forces which have given shape to it. It draws on key areas of educational, theory and practice and voluntary sector theory and practice which illuminate critical issues for development education. It then identifies shifts in the political and ideological, terrain; in which development education is located.

The empirical work centres around three in-depth case studies of development education centres 'which provide an understanding of the organization, the culture and the role of the centres, and which reveal a set of organizational conditions which serve to undermine development education efforts. Grounded theory is generated from the case studies in order to respond to the practitioners' definitions of situations and to generate theoretical truths grounded in the day to day realities of practice. The case study findings represent a base-line from which to consider a wider range of issues such as evaluation, dissemination and effectiveness of development education, and to ascertain the nature of the contribution the centres can make to development education in the wider context.

Finally it draws together the theory and practice of development education in an analysis of why it has had such a limited impact and outlines the implications for the future practice of development education in Britain. It argues that the problem of marginalization is related to the strategic delinquency which characterizes the centres' behaviour, and it identifies three critical factors which underly the centres' lack of strategic awareness, these are funding conditions, articles of faith and the culture of development education. The final section concludes by identifying priority areas in theory and practice which development education centres need to address in order to fulfil their potential.

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