Call for Papers 13a themed Edition 2018


 Linking Language to Social Justice and Critical Pedagogy


N Mayaba

K Ralarala

P E Angu

In academic institutions globally, language remains an undisputed channel for expressing authority, power, privilege, racial superiority, and social class (hooks, 1994; Nieto, 2010). For example, in South African academic institutions hegemonic languages of teaching and learning such as English and Afrikaans still symbolise white supremacy and privilege. Here, these languages are constantly used to silence, marginalise, and suppress learners, denying them the opportunity to experience “education as the practice of freedom” (Freire, 1996; hooks, 1994, p. 6). The plurality of linguistic resources that people use in their everyday lives for meaning making has also not been recognised as legitimate practice (McKinney, 2016). As a matter of fact, African languages, in particular, are not given equal status and usage as English, let alone market value:

Unless their instrumentality for the processes of production, exchange and distribution is enhanced, no amount of policy change at school level can guarantee their use in high-status functions and, thus, eventual escape from the dominance and the hegemony of English. (Alexander, 2005, p. 9)

If this situation is not attended to, the implication is that political and sociocultural relations between educators and learners will continue to be negotiated through linguistic exchanges often “filled with historically configured symbolic power features” (Blommaert, 2015, p. 10). From that perspective, language is a vehicle for promoting an educational model that domesticates or promotes a culture of silence, forcing learners to live and think “as the detachable appendages of other people’s dreams and desires” (McLaren, 1999, p. 50). This calls for a pedagogy that connects to the needs of the people on the periphery whilst also allowing a space where students can engage with the construction of realities, and their power to transform them and bring about social change (Giroux, 2000).

However, as a multiracial, multilingual, and multicultural society in Africa, South Africa also provides a unique space to use language as a vehicle of resistance or as agency to interrogate our complex social realities, and reclaim our identities and personal power (Nieto, 2010). In educational spaces, this can be achieved through not only embracing language, particularly marginalised languages, as tools through which perceptions of reality are mediated but also through espousing and linking language to social justice (Corson, 1993) and critical pedagogy. As Paulo Freire (1985, p. 187) put it: “one of the tasks of critical education and radical pedagogy is to help the critical thinking-speaking process to re-create itself in the re-creation of its context.” Here, we also argue that languages are not unequal, languages do not oppress other languages, that it is not the language itself that oppresses “but what the oppressors do with it, how they shape it to become a territory that limits and defines, how they make it a weapon that can shame, humiliate, colonize” (hooks, 1994, p.168).

To use language as a conduit of truth or to address issues of social justice, we need to teach to transgress, to transform, or to liberate (Freire, 1996; hooks, 1994). Against this background, this themed issue calls for papers that are able to link language to social justice and critical pedagogy in non-apologetic means and ways. We look forward to receiving articles guided by the focus of the Educational Research as Social Change Journal and the following questions:



1 April 2017:                                    Call for papers issued

7 July 2017:                                     Deadline for submission of manuscripts

1 October 2017:                              Feedback on reviews

1 November 2017:                           Submit reworked papers

1 January 2018:                               Submit manuscripts to ERSC editors for final review

1 February 2018:                             Revised manuscripts submitted to production editor

Publication date:                              April 2018


Contact details

Please e-mail manuscripts to:



Alexander, N. (2005). Language, class and power in post-apartheid South Africa. Retrieved from

Blommaert, J. (2015). Pierre Bourdieu and language in society. Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies. Paper 126. Retrieved from

Corson, D. (1993). Language, minority education and gender: Linking social justice and power. Philadelphia, USA: Multilingual Matters.

Freire, P. (1985). The politics of education: Culture, power, and education. London, UK: Bergin & Garvey.

Freire, P. (1996). Pedagogy of the oppressed (New revised edition). London, UK: Penguin.

Giroux, H. (2000). Impure acts: The practical politics of cultural studies. New York, USA: Routledge.

Hooks, B. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York, USA: Routledge.

Mckinney, C. (2016). Language and power in post-colonial schooling: Ideologies in practice. New York, USA: Routledge.

Mclaren, P. (1999). A pedagogy of possibility: Reflecting upon Paolo Freire’s politics of education: In memory of Paolo Freire. Educational Researcher,28(2), 49–56.

Nieto, S. (2010). Language, culture, and teaching: Critical perspectives (2nd ed.). New York, USA: Routledge.


Call for Papers Special Themed Issue 2018


Decolonising education: perspectives and debates

Guest editor: Aslam Fataar (Stellenbosch University):

Calls for decolonising education that recently accompanied the student protests at South African universities are not new, having first emerged in the context of decolonising struggles against colonial rule during the 1950s and 1960s.  The calls are based on a negation of modern colonial education whose organising principle centred on shaping the colonised into colonial subjects, in the process stripping them of their humanity and full potential. The knowledges of colonised groups, non-Europeans and indigenous folk were suppressed, or as the decolonial scholar, Boaventura de Sousa Santos explains, their knowledges suffered a form of ‘epistemicide’, which signifies their evisceration from the knowledge canon. The knowledge of the (colonial) university or school paid little to no attention to indigenous knowledges, the knowledges of the working poor, or the literacies of urban black female dwellers, for example.  It favoured the western canon, founded on a separation of the modern western knowledge from its non-western knowers, suggesting that modern knowledge would help instantiate modern subjects. Becoming a modern subject was the fulcrum of colonial education.

In South Africa, this view has been called into radical controversy by the students’ recent calls for decolonising education. They are demanding a type of cognitive justice based on an expansion and complete overhaul of the western knowledge canon. The call is also for knowledge pluralisation, which refers to incorporation of the complex ways of knowing of subaltern and all previously excluded groups. However, the call for decolonisation of knowledge is being echoed world-wide. Decolonised knowledge is based on the inclusion of all knowledge forms bequeathed to humanity; including African, indigenous, Arab-Islamic, Chinese, Hindu, Indo-American, Asiatic, and western knowledge forms.  This ‘all-inclusive’ approach to knowledge is based on an inter-cultural understanding of multiple and heterodox forms of being human.  This approach would seek to undermine ‘knowledge parochialism’, which is the idea that one’s own knowledge system is superior and thus sufficient for complex living.

The call is for schools, colleges, and universities should cultivate respect for people and their cultural and knowledge systems. These institutions should make available to their students knowledges across the widest possible human spectrum.  University curricula should work across the various knowledge and science systems to establish dialogical platforms about actual and potential futures. Decolonising education eschews static knowledge orientations.  It is founded on a type of complex knowledge dynamism in fidelity to disciplinary and trans-disciplinary foundations, and always alert to a type of problem-posing dynamism.  In other words, knowledge constructions ought to be approached as dynamic, disciplined and patient constructions that advance sustainable livelihoods. 

The call for decolonising education is nothing less that the full incorporation of humanity’s knowledge systems into the curriculum and knowledge selection systems of universities and schools.  The modalities of such incorporation ought to be the subject of urgent conversation in policy circles, among curriculum workers, learning materials and textbook designers, and, crucially, among university lecturers and school teachers.

This special edition invites articles that address the issues raised in the brief provided above.  Articles can also focus on the following questions:

Case studies based on research into aspects of decolonising education are also welcome.



1 April 2017:                                    Call for papers issued

1 August 2017:                                Deadline for submission of manuscripts

1 October 2017:                              Feedback on reviews

1 November 2017:                           Submit reworked papers

1 January 2018:                               Submit manuscripts to ERSC editors for final review

1 February 2018:                             Accepted manuscripts submitted to production editor

Publication date:                              May 2018


Contact details

Please e-mail manuscripts to:, noting they are for Issue 14a. Instructions for authors are available on


Call for 14th Edition 2018: Open Call

We would like to invite submissions in this open call that align with the aims and scope of the journal.

Please submit articles for the 14th issue by 28 February 2018 for October 2018 publication


Educational Research for Social Change is an international peer-reviewed journal established in 2012 and received DoHET accreditation in January 2016. In addition, ERSC was also included on the IBSS from February 2016. The idea of educational research having the potential of being transformative - through its work with communities and through various participatory research approaches - is something that is still very new in many educational research circles. ERSC publishes conceptual papers and empirical research which draw on emancipatory paradigms and participatory methodologies and methods, and which have a change agenda, which is seen as critical in contributing to transformation in education. This journal therefore aims to play a critical role in confirming the importance of educational research as social change, contributing to the theorizing thereof, and the dissemination of current research to a broad, cross-disciplinary audience of scholars, researchers and practitioners in the field of education.


Manuscripts submitted should be original, unpublished, and not under review for publication elsewhere. Authors should submit their manuscripts electronically, by attachment, to the editors at the following email address:

Full papers must be between 6000 and 8000 words, including notes and references. An abstract of not more than 200 words and a list of six keywords for indexing purposes should be provided.

For enquiries about the journal contact:


Call for 15th Edition 2019


Call for Papers

“Not just an object”: Making meaning of and from everyday objects in educational research for social change


Guest Editors

Daisy Pillay, Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan and Inbanathan Naicker

When we consider “the interpretive possibilities of objects, documents, and things . . . . we can situate the thing or object within broader societal questions” (Mitchell, 2011, p. 49).

How do we get at the meanings of everyday (and not so everyday) objects and how might their meanings have significance for broader social questions if as Shanks (1998) explains, “the [object] is itself a multiplicity, its identity is multiple” (p. 24)? The study of material culture offers researchers diverse languages of, with, and about objects and visual representations of those objects (Nordstrom, 2013).  In generating object narratives that simultaneously occupy the past, present and future we get to understand the “confused and confounded relationship between objects and subjects – both living and nonliving”, entangled and complex (Nordstrom, 2013, p. 238). Researching education through studying the meanings we attribute to objects defies binaries and linearities – to suggest that educational experience is open to new and different re-workings and re-visionings. As researchers mediating meanings of and from objects, “we are not apart from the trajectories of objects, subjects, culture, society, and discourse” (Nordstrom, 2013, p. 253). Working with objects locates us within those trajectories as we try to make sense of them with theories that allow us to see the entanglement and connections in between objects and lived experience (Nordstrom, 2013).

This special issue will bring together researchers from diverse contexts and multiple knowledge fields who share a commitment to educational research for social change. The issue will offer a shared space in which subjects and objects, living and nonliving, entangle to open up understandings of the connections made between objects and the “relationships which flow constantly between-across persons and things” (Nordstrom, 2013, p. 238).  It will open up ways to rethink objects and subjects as interconnecting entities that can demonstrate the social meanings of daily lived experiences of education and the objects used in personal and professional lives (Pahl & Roswell, 2010; Turkle, 2007).

Authors are invited to submit articles that will exhibit and narrate visual representations in response to the question: “How do we get at [the] meanings of everyday (and not so everyday) objects and how might their meanings enrich our research for social change?”   Each article will offer a unique object narrative. Taken as whole, the special issue will portray “a message about our [educational] life, an ensemble which will portray possible [educational]messages, of possibility and plurality” (Nordstrom, 2013, p. 252).

The themed issue will push the boundaries of what counts as evidence in research for social change to consider the educational possibilities of objects, situated within wide-ranging societal questions (Mitchell, 2011). It will raise debates about the potential of objects in generating social, historical and autobiographical narratives, with implications for social change. 


Mitchell, C. (2011). Doing Visual Research. London: Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Nordstrom, S. N. (2013). Object-interviews: Folding, unfolding, and refolding perceptions of objects. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 12, 237-257. Retrieved from

Pahl, K., & Roswell, J. (2010). Artifactual literacies: Every object tells a story. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.  

Turkle, S. (Ed.). (2007). Evocative objects: Things we think with. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Shanks, M. (1998). The life of an artifact in an interpretive archaeology. Fennoscandia archaeologica, 15, 15-42.



Abstracts (150–200 words) are due on 01 April 2018

Abstracts could address these elements:

Abstracts, together with the article title, author names and contact details, should be submitted as an email attachment to:

Potential authors should consult the Educational Research for Social Change information for authors for style guide information