Challenging the hero narrative: moving towards reparational citizenship education

Walsh, G. M. (2020) Challenging the hero narrative: moving towards reparational citizenship education. Societies, 10(2), e34. (doi: 10.3390/soc10020034)

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In his book, No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality, Jordan Flaherty claims the saviour mentality exists when “you want to help others but are not open to guidance from those you want to help”. According to Flaherty, the adoption of this mentality results in charitable activities at individual and community levels without broader systemic change, leaving unjust power relations unaddressed. He argues that this mentality is underpinned by racism, colonialism and capitalism, as well as an unethical and historically problematic understanding of charity. With reference to the ongoing partnership work between Scotland and Malawi, this article summarises a conceptual investigation into the possibility that Global Citizenship Education perpetuates the hero narrative. Historical, political and educational research is connected to Bhabha’s theory of cultural hybridity to conceptualise a theory of Reparational Citizenship Education, in contrast to the “reciprocal” approach favoured by policy makers and charitable organisations in Scotland. It is argued that this conceptual shift involves taking the hero narrative to task and that this approach has theoretical and practical implications for the future of Global Citizenship Education.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:(This article belongs to the Special Issue Citizenship Education and Civil Society).
Keywords:global citizenship education, white saviour industrial complex, hero narrative, cultural hybridity, reparational citizenship education, social justice.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Walsh, Mr Gary
Authors: Walsh, G. M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Societies
ISSN (Online):2075-4698
Published Online:08 April 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author
First Published:First published in Societies 10:e34
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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