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Western perspectives of Post-communist European schooling: Talking democracy, making empire

Perry, L.B. (2009) Western perspectives of Post-communist European schooling: Talking democracy, making empire. Lambert Academic Publishing, Cologne, Germany.


Since the fall of communism in Europe, educationists from both sides of the former Iron Curtain have sought opportunities to collaborate and exchange information. Despite the many strengths of post-communist educational systems, however, most Western scholars have expressed little interest in learning from or about their peers. Analysis of 220 scholarly texts written between 1989-2001 shows that the majority of Western authors believe post-communist schooling is inferior, outmoded and undemocratic. These claims, however, are rarely backed with empirical evidence and are instead the result of negative stereotypes of “Eastern Europe” as backwards and unprogressive. By cloaking their criticisms under the benign mantle of democracy, Western scholars can impose their notions of appropriate schooling without being seen as overtly ethnocentric. This analysis shows that scholarship about foreign educational systems can be influenced by stereotypical social constructions and can be a tool for asserting ethnocentric beliefs. As such it may be useful for educational comparativists and historians, as well as specialists of eastern and central Europe.

Item Type: Book
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Lambert Academic Publishing
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