Policy & Practice - A Development Education Review



Development Education and Democracy
Spring 2023

Guest Editorial: Development Education and Democracy

Stephen McCloskey

The theme of this issue (36) of Policy and Practice, ‘Development Education and Democracy’, can be viewed as part of a continuum with the previous issue (35) on the ‘economic paradigm’ and ‘Frontlines of Activism’, the topic to be explored in Issue 37 (Autumn 2023).  Most of the Focus article contributions to this issue are framed in the context of neoliberalism’s erosion of democratic spaces and institutions.  As Marta da Costa suggests: ‘neoliberalism has carried the logic of the market into all spheres of public life, disavowing basic human rights, and corrupting collective democratic spaces’.  The contributions from: Prachy Hooda on the Farmers’ Movement in India in 2020-21; Alireza Farahani and Behnam Zoghi Roudsari on community-based learning toward democratisation in Iran; and Gareth Robinson, Fionntán Hargey and Kathryn Higgins on a marginalised community in south Belfast struggling for ‘spatial justice’, speak to the importance of activism on the frontlines of neoliberalism.  The three topics – democracy, neoliberalism and activism – intersect at different levels and in varying contexts in Issue 36 from: the need to re-claim democracy from the jaws of fascism; to critically interrogate the concept of democracy as an enabler of Eurocentrism and ‘colonial/modern forms of oppression’ (da Costa); and to re-calibrate democracy as an agent of grassroots, community activism essential to resisting top-down ‘development’ perpetuating ‘the unequal and unjust distribution of resources and opportunities’ (Robinson, Hargey and Higgins). 

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