Teaching the 'Third World' : difference and development in the school curriculum
This research explores the communication of the 'Third World' in the school curriculum, focusing particularly on its role, location and significance. Using data collected from two UK secondary schools the thesis combines ethnographic methods with theoretical perspectives from sociology, development studies and cultural studies. The conceptual focus of the research is on the ways the communication of the 'Third World' constructs notions of difference and identity in the school curriculum, informed by its location within three frameworks of meaning: development; charity; multiculturalism. The communication of the 'Third World' through each of these is addressed in turn, focusing particularly on the variety of notions of 'self, 'world' and ' other' which are constructed. Attention is also drawn to the epistemological foundations underpinning the different constructions of the 'Third World', and to the implications this has for engagements with notions of difference. The research seeks to explain the contradictions within and between the schools' communication of the 'Third World', emphasising the micro-politics of the schools and their location within a broader political context. In particular, attention is drawn to the role of the aims, structure, and organisation of the schools in informing the communication of the 'Third World', and to tensions between national and local curricular authority. It is argued that contradictions within and between the different constructions of the 'Third World' reflect changes in how the 'Third World' and development are understood. However, the potential improvements in its communication that this suggests are being constrained at both local and national levels. Thus, the research concludes by identifying policy initiatives which can both build on this potential, and prevent further prejudiced and discriminatory constructions of the 'Third World'. It also suggests further research which will enhance our understanding in this area.