Globality and Eurocentric narratives in Hungarian higher education

Room K
Wednesday, 2 September 2015
08.30 – 10.15
Eurocentrism, global history, narrativity, postcolonialism

This research, conducted at the Karl Polanyi Research Center for Global Social Studies, aims at questioning whether and how globality and a global historical perspective is provided in the education system of Hungarian universities. The theoretical argument of this paper will rely on various critical approaches, such as global sociology and history, world-systems theory, and postcolonialism, which argue for the increasing relevance and much-needed awareness of a global historical perspective in critically elucidating our Eurocentric or Western knowledge production and narratives of world processes. The empirical study of this paper will fall into two parts. First, this paper will present the findings of a discourse analysis, which aims to deconstruct textbook narratives in geography (both in public and higher education). Second, this paper will present the comparative study of curriculas in sociology, history, international relations, politology and geography in five major Hungarian universities. The paper will argue that many of these curricula lack a global and comparative perspective, and geography textbooks are especially biased by Eurocentric narratives and an inherent modernization theory, which is a specific product of the ’postsocialist condition’ in Hungarian geography. As a geographer, the author will aim at showing that there is a great need for producing new textbooks in geography that rely on critical understandings of global and world historical processes, as textbooks have a major political role in conditioning or reproducing social inequalities.

Zoltán Ginelli (Gyimesi)
Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Social and Economic Geography
zginelli [at]

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