Simona Szakács-BehlingJennifer RigganBassel Akar

Introduction: Rethinking Global Citizenship Education from the ground up: Intentions, power, and accidents


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In their introduction, the editors of the special issue call for a re-examination of GCE and how we research it. Following a discussion of the complexities and inadequacies inherent in the terminologies, theories and practices around GCE in debates to date, they explain the necessity for a profound epistemological, ontological and methodological shift (Pashby, da Costa, Stein & Andreotti, 2020) via an emic, or ‘bottom-up,’ approach and how emic narratives, discourses, and practices such as those presented in this special issue can inform novel conceptualizations. While what the editors call ‘intentional’ GCE is conventionally based on normative, top-down definitions of what education policy actors deem to be a GCE agenda, an ‘accidental’ GCE may occur in everyday learning situations apart from, sometimes as a result of, and often in spite of, prescribed ‘intentions.’ In almost all cases these processes take place within a power structure that may be shifted, reset or exacerbated by these ‘accidents.’ This introduction explores in detail how such misalignments can come to light in actual practices via an emic approach that can inform, challenge, or change our dominant conceptualizations of GCE. Ultimately, the editors explain, such an approach can inform robust debate not only on what GCE should or could be, but also on what it is.