Policy & Practice - A Development Education Review



Pedagogy of Hope for Global Social Justice: Sustainable Futures for People and the Planet

Development Education and Migration
Spring 2024

Giulia Filippi

Bourn, D and Tarozzi M (eds.) (2023) Pedagogy of Hope for Global Social Justice: Sustainable Futures for People and the Planet, London: Bloomsbury Academic.

This book emphasises the role of hope in education, especially in the context of global citizenship education (GCE) and social justice.  In particular, hope is identified from the beginning of the book as a necessary component to adopt a global perspective in education, understood as the process of thinking otherwise (Andreotti, 2015) and imagining possible solutions.  It is viewed by the editors in the introduction as an ‘ontological need’, which needs to be addressed in our world.  For this reason, Tarozzi clearly states that the idea of hope is far from being ‘naïve’ but rather ought to be critical.  This critical perspective is, in fact, that hope leads to change, which is explored throughout the book in different ways. 

            Beyond the Freirean idea, linked to the awareness and the conscientisation process related to the reality of oppression; Tarozzi, draws upon the ideas of Swanson and Gamal (2021) to extend the concept of hope to radical hope and builds a conceptualisation of global perspectives about education.  And specifically, a global social justice (education).  In the neoliberal era, the concept of hope is highlighted here as fundamental for educators, educational institutions and civil society for its intrinsic transformative power and stimulus to social change.  The book seeks to clarify this idea of hope as a cognitive and political act which has a critical value for the present.  Hence, Pedagogy of Hope for Global Social Justice is an insightful collection of perspectives that delves into the interplay between education, global citizenship, social justice and sustainable development. 

            The book calls for the integration of global social justice primarily into the concepts and ideas of education, but more specifically, its scope is to present different strategies, research methods, conceptualisations and pedagogies to deal with current global challenges, making it a timely and essential read for anyone involved in the educational process and social development.  The book has fourteen chapters grouped into three well-divided sections.  The first section is titled the Conceptual Framework, which presents theoretical perspectives related to hope, GCE, global social justice and eco-pedagogy.  The second section relates to Global Perspectives. Here, theories and empirical works are presented as examples from different parts of the world, including Australia, China, Brazil, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and North America, underlying the importance of diversification in the narrative around GCE.  The last section is titled Applying Global Social Justice and focuses on practical applications that demonstrate how theories of GCE can be put into action in various educational settings. 

            The theoretical underpinnings in the first section are based on some fundamental topics.  Torres introduces the concept of ‘real utopia’ and the necessity and incentive to search for new utopias that go beyond the current neoliberal education system linking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to GCE and sustainable education.  Contextual oppression is something that Mesa also refers to as ‘the systemic crisis we are facing’ (40) and calls for new interpretative frameworks for tackling humanity’s global challenges, especially considering the right to citizenship for women.  Another important theme presented theoretically is planetary citizenship (Chapter 3), in which eco-pedagogy is presented as a framework for addressing socio-environmental justice.  Section one also includes an extensive research work conducted by Scheunpflug and colleagues, about global values within the school curriculum, showing the difficulties of integrating them into educational systems. 

            The second section considers where the concepts of GCE and hope are explored challenging the Eurocentric views of GCE.  Pieces of works and research, such as the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) in the global North, provide insights into how ideas and practices in GCE spread and take root across different educational and cultural contexts (Chapter 6).  The showcase of an Australian educational system based on the neoliberal agenda unveils participants’ intercultural understanding through their voices thanks to action research (chapter 7).  Chapter 8 investigates the connection between the philosophical Chinese tradition and global competencies highlighting the important concepts of ‘benevolence’, ‘equality’ and ‘the human heart’, rooted in the Relational Rationality Approach.  In chapter 9, a Brazilian case study emphasises the role of education in empowering marginalised communities, including the knowledge of Indigenous and Afro-descendants, alongside Western knowledge in the curriculum.  The intricacies of this core section show perspectives and conceptions that may pose challenges in understanding the different aspects covered in every chapter, but despite this, it is precisely this depth and diversity that enriches the work, giving an extensive and wide view around the concept of GCE and global learning. 

            Section three is structured around practical examples of global social justice within different case studies.  The first chapter in this section invites us to reflect on how Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and digital learning could be more transformative, moving away from the learnification of education.  In Chapter 11, a case study from Ghana highlights the limitations of traditional teaching methods and proposes development education as a means of building learners’ critical thinking skills.   Chapters 12 and 14 address the role of online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teachers and in a case study conducted in South Africa, interrelating with the concept of hope as fundamental for training active teachers.  Expanding on the idea of the value of active change and continuity actions that can deeply engage individuals, Chapter 13 addresses gender equality issues in a Portuguese context.  The practical case studies shown here are crucial for educators, policy-makers, and practitioners who seek to translate ideas into action and take some examples to replicate, modify, and adopt them in their own context.

            Within the book, certain concepts recur, each uniquely articulated through the diverse contributions presented.   The book highlights the importance of the transformative power of hope when connected to a real context and a deep awareness of individuals.  As Bourn states in the conclusion, hope is necessary and effective for putting into action a pedagogical approach that is participatory, progressive and optimistic.  The book provides valuable insights into implementing these concepts from formal education systems to a non-traditional learning environment.   Furthermore, the plurality of voices in the book provide different methodologies, topics, and contexts for creating a multifaceted set of concepts. They provide an accurate representation of the challenges and complexities of introducing the concept of hope in different learning contexts.  In this way, the editors seek to inspire the GCE sector with new perspectives and, most importantly, a new pedagogical approach.

            Pedagogy of Hope for Global Social Justice is a crucial contribution to the field of education.  It delivers a fresh perspective on a potential shift in the discipline and expands our understanding of GCE.  The book highlights the current state of GCE and social justice education through the lens of different actors.  Pointing towards future directions and challenges, it emphasises the need for ongoing research, policy development, and curriculum innovation to keep pace with a rapidly changing global landscape. 

Note: Pedagogy of Hope for Global Social Justice: Sustainable Futures for People and the Planet is available in an open access digital format from Bloomsbury Collections at: https://www.bloomsburycollections.com/monograph?docid=b-9781350326293&st=bourn


Andreotti, V (2015) ‘Global citizenship education otherwise: pedagogical and theoretical insights’ in A Abdi, L Shultz, and T Pillay (eds.) Decolonizing Global Citizenship Education, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 221-230.

Swanson, D and Gamal, M (2021) ‘Global Citizenship Education / Learning for Sustainability: Tensions, “flaws”, and Contradictions as Critical Moments of Possibility and Radical Hope in Educating for Alternative Futures’. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 19(4): 456–69.

Giulia Filippi is a PhD student at the Faculty of Education of the Free University of Bolzano in Italy.  She is currently a visiting scholar at Maynooth University in Ireland.  Her research interests include teacher education, global citizenship education and comparative education.  She is a member of the group of early career researchers of the UNESCO Chair in Global Citizenship Education at the University of Bologna and facilitator for the Early Career Researcher Group of the Academic Network on Global Education and Learning (ANGEL).

Filippi, G (2024) ‘Pedagogy of Hope for Global Social Justice: Sustainable Futures for People and the Planet’, Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review, Vol. 38, Spring, pp. 156-160.