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Convening a network within the European Conference on Educational Research: a history of the Social Justice and Intercultural Education Network

Bhatti, G and Leeman, Y (2011) 'Convening a network within the European Conference on Educational Research: a history of the Social Justice and Intercultural Education Network.' European Educational Research Journal, 10 (1). pp. 129-142. ISSN 1474-9041

Abstract

The experience of initiating and sustaining a research-based dialogue on social justice and intercultural education in Europe requires both flexibility and focus. This article highlights the challenges facing convenors of one network, who wish to include researchers from diverse backgrounds, while at the same time enhancing the academic quality of the papers presented at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER). This article presents a brief history of 15 years of networking with a view to discussing some of the main issues which have emerged over the years. The work of Network 7, Social Justice and Intercultural Education, raises significant questions. Is it necessary or desirable to develop a common theoretical language and/or a body of knowledge? And, if so, how can this be done in a scientific world governed by the English language and Anglo-Saxon research traditions? How should differences in research interests and traditions from different parts of Europe be included taking asymmetric power relations into account? Other issues include the incorporation within social justice of discourses on gender, ethnicity, disability and religion. The article defines the interlinked key concepts of social justice and intercultural education which guide the work of the network. A brief history follows, describing the challenges facing the network. These include the issue of language, the discussions during the ECER, the image of the network and the choice of network descriptors. As research is influenced by scientific traditions and cultural, political and financial contexts, it is difficult for the network convenors to influence or direct the research agenda. The article is based on network archives, including documents such as conference programmes; memos; letters; network descriptors and reports; discussions about the selection and acceptance of proposals as recorded in emails and letters; convenors' reflections; and analysis of participants' formal and informal evaluations of network sessions. The issues raised in this article will continue to be debated at the ECER.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2013 13:15
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2014 18:55
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