The major political events of the last year, such as the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA, have been described in some Anglophone Northern societies as an anti-establishment revolt by people who object to the consequences of Globalization and liberal elites deciding for people the values that should be dominant. These revolts emanate from across the political spectrum, across classes and in other parts of the world apart from the North, such as South Africa. They are reacting variously to the ways in which global elites make all major decisions concerning trade, labor employment and accruing of wealth. One consequence of these actions has been a tendency to revert to nationalist rhetoric and a desire to reinstitute nationalist government heavily supported by right wing groups across Europe and in some cases we can see ‘Populist’ leaders taking more and more autocratic powers with the support of ‘the people’. Nevertheless, the election of Emmanuel Macron in France and the positive showing for left wing policies of the Labour Party in the recent UK general election indicates that ‘populism’ is not restricted to right wing successes and that it may be encountered in a range of forms.
Educational research has a major role to play as these events unfold, for we engage with a wide range of populations affected by the consequences of these developments. It is also the case that Education has been charged with needing to convey the values for societies next generation, while perversely institutionalizing instrumentalized forms of teaching and learning required by the neoliberal economic establishment. Researchers have a large part to play by re-presenting the values, experiences, tensions and dilemmas of people within education. Part of the response to the Populist upsurge has been a call to listen to those who feel disenfranchised, ‘forgotten and left behind’, and to represent them more fully in terms of policies and moreover to re-engage their political perspectives and actions at the heart of political decision making.
In this international collection perspectives from Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, India, Pakistan, Sweden, the UK, and the United States come together. The contributions offer a wide range of methodological approaches to questions concerning the relationship between populism and education(al science). We are thankful to all contributors for enriching this volume and wish the reader insightful reflections on a prevailing issue.
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