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Decolonizing Geography and Access to Powerful Disciplinary Knowledge

Standish, A; (2019) Decolonizing Geography and Access to Powerful Disciplinary Knowledge. Journal of Geographical Research , 2 (3) 10.30564/jgr.v2i3.898. Green open access

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Abstract

This article engages with and aims to advance the debate about Decolonizing geography, examining its approach to knowledge and its implications for the discipline. Decolonizers draw heavily upon social constructivist and historically-rooted notions of knowledge which emphasize its embeddedness in power relations. While shedding light on the social and political conditions under which knowledge is produced is valuable, its context-dependent view of knowledge limits its scope to account for disciplinary knowledge. Taking a particularistic epistemology which conflates knowledge with experience is insufficient to explain the historical evolution of theoretical and disciplinary frameworks. Denying the potential for and even the desirability of context-independent (theoretical) knowledge Decolonizing geography can be read as post-disciplinary and post-universal, potentially denying that geography can offer all students, regardless of their background, access to powerful knowledge and insights. Here, social realism is proposed as an alternative approach to knowledge which accounts for both the social context of knowledge production and its distinctive epistemic qualities. An epistemological framework for geography is examined which demonstrates the relationship between propositional (conceptual), contextual and procedural knowledge, and why all three are essential for the student of geography.

Type: Article
Title: Decolonizing Geography and Access to Powerful Disciplinary Knowledge
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.30564/jgr.v2i3.898
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.30564/jgr.v2i3.898
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2019 Alexander Standish Creative Commons License. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Keywords: Decolonize; Disciplinary knowledge; Epistemology; Social realism; Curriculum
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121723
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