Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, Vol 5, No 1 (2011)

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A critical discourse analysis of the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window: A focus on the International Maghreb-Europe Education Network Project

Hayat Messekher


The aim of this paper is to show how descriptions of projects such as EM ECW and IMAGEEN construct an image of a deficient H.Ed. system in the Maghreb through particular discursive strategies, including choice of adjectives and verbs. These disguise a “neo-colonial” attitude towards the Southern Mediterranean countries by creating an urgent need for them to homogenize their H.Ed. systems in order to be able to participate in these projects. This naturally legitimizes prospective reforms in the field of those countries so that the “flow” and exchange of students, researchers, and academics between the two banks of the Mediterranean can be made possible. The projects’ descriptions implicitly state that the North African H.Ed. systems are suffering from many problems and that these projects are the solution which these countries must put into practice. In other words, the texts i.e. the discourse, is motivated by a certain ideology, and aims to lead to specific actions.

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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.