A critical reflection on knowledge hierarchies, language and development

A critical reflection on knowledge hierarchies, language and development Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the discussion about the developmental value of knowledge by reflecting on the “knowledge for development” (K4D) paradigm. In particular, it draws attention to the interaction between linguistic and communicative processes and the areas of power, knowledge and education. This is considered fruitful to understanding the complex and subtle mechanisms in the reproduction of the North‐South knowledge and power divide. Design/methodology/approach – The authors apply an interdisciplinary approach combining concepts from development studies, sociology of education and sociolinguistics. The article first contextualizes the K4D paradigm. It then reflects on knowledge hierarchies and the role of language. Second, it looks at donor policies and the conditions for higher education in developing countries. The Burkina Faso Country Gateway serves as an example of a donor‐driven K4D initiative. An analysis of its web site based on sociolinguistic approaches is used to exemplify the above mentioned interrelation. Findings – The article concludes that the K4D paradigm asserts rather than flattens North‐South knowledge hierarchies. To allow knowledge production to be inclusive, it is necessary to reflect on how knowledge management and ICT tools must be structured in order to enable interaction with disadvantaged user groups and to facilitate democratic and participative processes. Originality/value – The interplay between power and knowledge asymmetries with language and communication processes is rarely reflected upon in the context of development. This paper seeks to increase the attention paid to these topics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Multicultural Education & Technology Journal Emerald Publishing

A critical reflection on knowledge hierarchies, language and development

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1750-497X
DOI
10.1108/17504971211279509
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the discussion about the developmental value of knowledge by reflecting on the “knowledge for development” (K4D) paradigm. In particular, it draws attention to the interaction between linguistic and communicative processes and the areas of power, knowledge and education. This is considered fruitful to understanding the complex and subtle mechanisms in the reproduction of the North‐South knowledge and power divide. Design/methodology/approach – The authors apply an interdisciplinary approach combining concepts from development studies, sociology of education and sociolinguistics. The article first contextualizes the K4D paradigm. It then reflects on knowledge hierarchies and the role of language. Second, it looks at donor policies and the conditions for higher education in developing countries. The Burkina Faso Country Gateway serves as an example of a donor‐driven K4D initiative. An analysis of its web site based on sociolinguistic approaches is used to exemplify the above mentioned interrelation. Findings – The article concludes that the K4D paradigm asserts rather than flattens North‐South knowledge hierarchies. To allow knowledge production to be inclusive, it is necessary to reflect on how knowledge management and ICT tools must be structured in order to enable interaction with disadvantaged user groups and to facilitate democratic and participative processes. Originality/value – The interplay between power and knowledge asymmetries with language and communication processes is rarely reflected upon in the context of development. This paper seeks to increase the attention paid to these topics.

Journal

Multicultural Education & Technology JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 9, 2012

Keywords: Knowledge for development; Knowledge hierarchies; Language; Communication; Higher education; Development gateway; Burkina Faso

References

  • Media, multilingualism and language policing: an introduction
    Blommaert, J.
  • Neoliberalism and education in Latin America
    Davidson‐Harden, A.; Schugurensky, D.
  • Knowledge society and the knowledge gap
    Evers, H.D.
  • Managing knowledge and storing wisdom? New forms of foreign aid?
    Samoff, J.; Stromquist, N.
  • Education and poverty in the global development agenda: emergence, evolution and consolidation
    Tarabini, A.

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