Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, Vol 9, No 2 (2015)

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Education for sustainable inequality? A postcolonial analysis of materials for Development Education in Germany

Daniel Bendix, Chandra-Milena Danielzik, Timo Kiesel


The central objective of this paper is to explore in how far Development Education (DE) material in Germany broaches or neglects postcolonial power relations. The analysis is based on materials for DE in Germany dating from 2002 to 2012 which are publicly accessible and used by NGOs, teachers and multipliers as guidance for their educational work. The analysis evidences that the material “disremembers” colonialism in various ways. Furthermore it reproduces hegemonic eurocentric development imaginary. With the absence of a critical, postcolonial perspective on the interconnectedness of colonialism, capitalism and ‘development’, the bifurcation of the world persists: on the one hand people and societies which need to be ‘developed’, and helpers on the other. In addition, the material does not do justice to an inclusive pedagogy in a society of migration: Not all potential participants with their different societal positions are included and addressed; instead, learning takes place based on, and at the expense of, the ‘Other’. The paper argues that instead of questioning historically developed relations of power and domination, German DE in its current orientation contributes to stabilising inequality at the social, political, and economic level.

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Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices is a non-commercial initiative committed to the ethical dissemination of academic research and educational thinking. CLTP acknowledges the thoughtful dedication of authors, editors and reviewers to develop and promote this open journal initiative. The journal receives copy-editing sponsorship from the Faculty of Education at the University of Oulu, Finland. CLTP has previously received  copy editing support from the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice at the University of Nottingham, UK.