The imperial entanglements of ‘Education in Emergencies’: from saving souls to saving schools?

This paper reflects historically and contemporaneously on the relationship between ‘International Education and Development’ actors and foreign intervention in our colonial past and present, with a particular focus on Education in Emergencies (EiE), a sub-field of research and practice within ‘International Education and Development’. Theoretically, this work is underpinned by a critical application of the ‘implicated subject’, Rothberg’s (2019) conceptual addition to the study of violence and injustice which seeks to go beyond binaries of ‘victim and perpetrator’ and recognise the way many others are ‘implicated’ in systems of violence and injustice. In the first section we explore this framing for researchers and practitioners in the field of EiE and the complex ways that researchers and practitioners might be understood as ‘implicated subjects’. In the second part we explore two dimensions of EiE actors as ‘implicated subjects’: Diachronic and Synchronic. In the diachronic dimension we highlight the way the colonial past hangs heavy in the present and in the synchronic dimension we explore the case of Afghanistan, and the links between military, development and education strategy. In the conclusion we reflect on their implication for improved ethical practices in EiE and in the broader field of International Education and Development.

Resource Info

Resource Type

Journal Article


Published by

Globalisation, Societies and Education

Authored by

Mario Novelli & Birgul Kutan


Anti-racism and Decoloniality
Humanitarian Sectors - Education
Humanitarian-Development-Peacebuilding Nexus