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Depoliticisation and dissensus in the global partnership for education: Rethinking the post-political condition

Journal article
Authors Beniamin Knutsson
Jonas Lindberg
Published in Journal of International Relations and Development
Volume 23
Issue 2
Pages 436-461
ISSN 1408-6980
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 436-461
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1057/s41268-018-...
Keywords global governance; international aid; multi-stakeholder partnerships; the political; post-foundational; post-politics
Subject categories International education, Pedagogy, Social and Economic Geography, Human Geography, Globalization Studies

Abstract

The political significance of multi-stakeholder partnerships has been widely discussed in the global governance literature. This paper takes issue with the undue optimism of the deliberative school of thought that has become dominant in the field. Yet, we also engage in dialogue with the assertion, stemming from representatives of our own theoretical camp, that a post-political condition is being consolidated worldwide. Informed by post-foundational political thought, the paper explores a multi-stakeholder arrangement for global governance of aid to education: the global partnership for education (GPE). Based on interviews with a wide range of stakeholders in the GPE, the paper makes an empirical contribution to a literature that typically operates at a more abstract level. Our findings point to the political dynamics that pervade this global governance arrangement. While it is obvious that the GPE comprises a range of post-political strategies, it is, at the same time, a venue for serious contestation. Hence, although it is imperative to critically expose strategies for depoliticisation in global governance, it is equally important to realise that post-political arrangements convey something more than merely post-politics. Ultimately, we argue that the ubiquitousness of such post-political arrangements only reaffirms that the ‘the political’ forms part of our ontological condition.

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