What Is Education For? Is It for Learning Whiteness?

  • Ornette D. Clennon


In asking about the intrinsic purpose of both formal and informal education, Ornette D. Clennon discusses the need to challenge Eurocentric epistemologies by discussing Gurminder Bhambra’s concept of “connected histories” that challenges the field of historical sociology to take a less Eurocentric approach to espistemology and historiography. Clennon also looks at supplementary education as a potential site for an African Philosophy of Education, namely Ubuntu that by using a social justice based critical pedagogy, embodies elements of “connected histories” in its use of ethno-philosophy.


Connected histories Ubuntu Supplementary education 

Works Cited

  1. Abbott, A. (1991). History and Sociology: The Lost Synthesis. Social Science History, 15(2), 201–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, J., Clemens, E. S., & Or, A. S. (Eds.). (2005a). Remaking Modernity Politics, History and Sociology. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Adams, J., Clemens, E. S., & Or, A. S. (2005b). Introduction: Social Theory, Modernity and the Three Waves of Historical Sociology. In J. Adams, E. S. Clemens, & A. S. Or (Eds.), Remaking Modernity: Politics, History and Sociology (pp. 1–72). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ali, N. (2018, February). Jess Phillips, Lena Dunham and White Feminism. Retrieved from Media Diversified.
  5. Anders, J. (2012). The Link Between Household Income, University Applications and University Attendance. Fiscal Studies, 33(2), 185–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Andrews, K. (2017, November 28). Re-engaging the Politics of Black Radicalism in the Age of ‘Black Live Lives’ (Hosted by CAPPE University of Brighton). Retrieved from YouTube.
  7. Archer, L., & Hutchings, M. (2000). “Bettering Yourself?” Discourses of Risk, Cost and Benefit in Ethnically Diverse, Young Working-Class Non-participants’ Constructions of Higher Education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 21(4), 555–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Balibar, E. (1991). Is There a “Neo-Racism”? In E. Balibar & I. Wallerstein (Eds.), Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities (pp. 17–28). New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  9. Bethell-Bennett, I. (2018, April 27). On Colonialism and Postcolonial Structures of Racism and Inequality. Retrieved from The Nassau Guardian.
  10. Bhambra, G. K. (2007). Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bhambra, G. K. (2010). Historical Sociology, International Relations, and Connected Histories. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 23(1), 127–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blau, J. R., & Brown, E. S. (2001). Du Bois and Diasporic Identity: The Veil and the Unveilling Project. Sociological Theory, 19(2), 219–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Boliver, V. (2013). How Fair Is Access to More Prestigious UK Universities? British Journal of Sociology, 64(2), 344–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Boliver, V. (2015). Why Are British Ethnic Minorities Less Likely to Be Offered Places at Highly Selective Universities? In C. Alexander & J. Arday (Eds.), Aiming Higher: Race, Inequality and Diversity in the Academy (pp. 15–18). London: Runnymeade.Google Scholar
  15. Bonnell, V. (1980). The Uses of Theory, Concepts and Comparison in Historical Sociology. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 22(2), 156–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bothwell, E. (2017, October 16). Universities ‘Generate £95 Billion for UK Economy’. Retrieved from Times Higher Education.
  17. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (R. Nice, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J.-C. (2000 [1977]). Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture (R. Nice, Trans.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L. J. (1992). An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  20. Browne, J. (2009, November 9). Browne Report: An Independent Review of Higher Education & Student Finance in England. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from The National Archives.
  21. Chowdry, H., Crawford, C., Dearden, L., Goodman, A., & Vignoles, A. (2013). Widening Participation in Higher Education: Analysis Using Linked Administrative Data. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A: Statistics in Society, 176(2), 431–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Clennon, O. D. (2013, November 18). What’s the Problem with Black Masculinities? Retrieved March 13, 2014, from Media Diversified.
  23. Clennon, O. D. (Ed.). (2014). Alternative Education and Community Engagement: Making Education a Priority. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  24. Clennon, O. D. (2015). Urban Dialectics, the Market and Youth Engagement: The ‘Black’ Face of Eurocentrism. New York: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. Clennon, O. D. (2016). The Black Face of Eurocentrism: Uncovering Globalisation. In O. D. Clennon (Ed.), International Perspectives of Multiculturalism: The Ethical Challenges (pp. 91–128). New York: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  26. Clennon, O. D. (2017). The Polemics of C.L.R. James and Contemporary Black Activism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. Clennon, O. D. (2018). Manchester Supplementary School Network (MSSN) Policy Brief: Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper. Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University.Google Scholar
  28. Committee. (1963). The Robbins Report. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. Available at
  29. Crawford, C. (2012). Socio-Economic Gaps in HE Participation: How Have They Changed over Time? (Briefing Note BN133). London: Institute for Fiscal Studies.Google Scholar
  30. Crenna-Jennings, W. (2017, December 21). A Black Caribbean FSM Boy with SEND is 168 Times More Likely to Be Permanently Excluded Than a White British Girl Without SEND. Why? Retrieved from TES.
  31. David, M., Bathmaker, A. M., Crozier, G., Davis, P., Ertl, H., Fuller, A., et al. (Eds.). (2009). Improving Learning by Widening Participation in Higher Education. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Delebarre, J. (2016). Briefing Paper Number 6385: Unemployment by Ethnic Background. London: House of Commons Library. Available at file:///C:/Users/46030750/Downloads/SN06385.pdf.Google Scholar
  33. De Stefano, V. (2016). The Rise of the “Just-in-Time Workforce”: On-Demand Work, Crowdwork and Labour Protection in the “Gig-Economy”. Geneva: International Labour Office. Available at
  34. Dzobo, N. K. (1992). The Image of Man in Africa. In K. Wiredu & K. Gyekye (Eds.), Person and Community (pp. 123–136). Washington: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.Google Scholar
  35. Editor. (2018, June 26). Programme. Retrieved from Leeds International Mediaeval Congress.
  36. Eisenstadt, S. N. (2000). Multiple Modernities. Daedalus, 129(1), 1–29.Google Scholar
  37. Eisenstadt, S. N. (2001). The Civilisational Dimension of Modernity: Modernity as a Distinct Civilisation. International Sociology, 16(3), 320–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Eisenstadt, S. N., & Schluchter, W. (1998). Introduction: Paths to Early Modernities—A Comparative View. Daedalus, 127(3), 1–18.Google Scholar
  39. Evans, D., & Gillan-Thomas, K. (2015). Descriptive Analysis of Supplementary School Pupils’ Characteristics and Attainment in Seven Local Authorities in England, 2007/08–2011/12. London: Paul Hamlyn.Google Scholar
  40. Eyerman, R. (1981). False Consciousness and Ideology in Marxist Theory. Acta Sociologica, 24(1–2), 43–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Freire, P. (1973). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury Press.Google Scholar
  42. Freire, P. (2000[1921]). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  43. Gayle, V., Berridge, D., & Davies, R. B. (2002). Young People’s Entry in Higher Education: Quantifying Influential. Factors. Oxford Review of Education, 28(1), 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Gordon, L. (1999). Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books.Google Scholar
  45. GOV.UK. (2018, July 6). Multi-academy Trusts: Establishing and Developing Your Trust. Retrieved from GOV.UK.
  46. Graeber, D. (2006). Turning Modes of Production Inside Out: Or, Why Capitalism Is a Transformation of Slavery. Critique of Anthropology, 26(1), 61–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Gyekye, K. (1992). Person and Community in Akan Thought. In K. Wiredu & K. Gyekye (Eds.), Person and Community (pp. 101–122). Washington: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.Google Scholar
  48. Gyekye, K. (1995). Indeterminacy, Ethnophilosophy, Linguistic Philosophy. African Philosophy. Philosophy, 70(273), 377–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Gyekye, K. (1997). Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Hall, S. (1986). On Postmodernism and Articulation: An Interview with Stuart Hall (L. Grossberg, Ed.). Journal of Communication Inquiry, 10(2), 61–77.Google Scholar
  51. Higgs, P. (2012). African Philosophy and the Decolonization of Education in Africa: Some Critical Reflections. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(S2), 37–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Jackman, M. (2018, July 2). U.S. Court: Detroit Students Have No Right to Access to Literacy. Retrieved from Detroit Metro Times.
  53. James, D. (2015). How Bourdieu Bites Back: Recognising Misrecognition in Education and Educational Research. Cambridge Journal of Education, 45(1), 97–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kai, M. (2018, August 21). Non-Compliant: The War Against Black Students’ Hairstyles Continues. Retrieved from The Glow Up.
  55. Katz, J. (2005). TOUGH GUISE: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity. Northamption, MA: Media Education Foundation. Available at
  56. Londesborough, M. (2016, November 24). Getting Clever with Culture. Retrieved from The RSA.
  57. Mann, M. (2006). Explaining International Relations, Empires and European Miracles: A Response. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 34(2), 541–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Marx, K. (1906 [1867]). Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (S. Moore & E. Aveling, Trans.). New York: Modern Library. Available at (Version Used).
  59. Marx, K. (1975 [1870]). Marx to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt. In K. Marx & F. Engels (Eds.), Selected Correspondence (R. Kuhn, Trans., pp. 220–224). Moscow: Progress Publishers. Available at (Version Used).
  60. Mason, P. (2018, April 26). The Windrush Scandal Unmasks the Colonial Attitudes of British Conservatives. Retrieved from New Statesman.
  61. Maylor, U. (2009). ‘They Do Not Relate to Black People Like Us’: Black Teachers as Role Models for Black Pupils. Journal of Education Policy, 24(1), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Maylor, U. (2012). The Secret of Supplementary Schools Success. Insights: British Educational Research Association, 1, 1–4.Google Scholar
  63. Mbiti, J. S. (1970). African Religions and Philosophy. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  64. McKie, R. (2018, June 10). How Our Colonial Past Altered the Ecobalance of an Entire Planet. Retrieved from The Observer.
  65. McIntosh, P. (1990). White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Independent School (Winter), 31–36.Google Scholar
  66. MEaP. (2018, July 9). Home. Retrieved from Making Education a Priority (MEaP).
  67. Morrison, T. (1993). Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  68. Narayan, U. (2004). The Project of Feminist Epistemology: Perspectives from a Nonwestern Feminism. In S. G. Harding (Ed.), The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies (pp. 213–224). New York: Routledge. Available at
  69. NRCSE. (2018, July 9). Home. Retrieved from National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education.
  70. Nwulu, S. (2015). Beyond the School Gates. London: RSA.Google Scholar
  71. Oruka, H. O. (1990). Sage Philosophy: Indigenous Thinkers and Modern Debate on African Philosophy. Leiden and New York: E. J. Brill.Google Scholar
  72. Oxford Economics. (2017). The Economic Impact of UK Universities, 2014–15. Oxford: Oxford Economics. Available at
  73. Ramalingam, V., & Griffith, P. (2015). Saturdays for Success: How Supplementary Education Can Support Pupils from All Backgrounds to Flourish. London: IPPR.Google Scholar
  74. Rosenberg, J. (2006). Why Is There No International Historical Sociology? European Journal of International Relations, 12(3), 307–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Rosenberg, J. (2007). International Relations—The “Higher” Bullshit: A Reply to the Globalisation Theory Debate. International Politics, 44(4), 450–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sabaratnam, M. (2013). Avatars of Eurocentrism in the Critique of the Liberal Peace. Security Dialogue, 44(3), 259–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Sefa Dei, G. (2014). Indigenizing the Curriculum: The Case of the African University. In G. Emeagwali & G. J. Sefa Dei (Eds.), African Indigenous Knowledge and the Disciplines (pp. 165–180). Rotterdam, Boston, and Tapei: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  78. Stevenson, J. (2012). Black and Minority Ethnic Student Degree Retention and Attainment. London: Higher Education Academy. Available at
  79. Swindells, R., Lawthom, R., Kagan, C., & Kilroy, A. (2013). Eudaimonic Wellbeing and Community Arts Participation. Perspectives in Public Health, 133(1), 60–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Teschke, B. (2005). Bourgeois Revolution, State-Formation and the Absence of the International. Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory, 13(2), 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. The National Committee. (1997). The Dearing Report. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. Available at
  82. UCAS. (2013). Application Cycle: End of Cycle Report. Cheltenham: UCAS.Google Scholar
  83. Vignoles, A., & Murray, N. (2016). Widening Participation in Higher Education. Education Sciences, 6(2), 13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Waghid, Y. (2016, July 29). African Philosophy of Education: A Powerful Arrow in Universities’ Bow. Retrieved from The Conversation.
  85. Waghid, Y., & Smeyers, P. (2012). Reconsidering Ubuntu: On the Educational Potential of a Particular Ethic of Care. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(S2), 6–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wallerstein, I. (1974). The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  87. Wallerstein, I. (1979). The Capitalist World-Economy: Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  88. Wallerstein, I. (2003). Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization (11th ed.). London, New York: Verso.Google Scholar


  1. Clennon, O. D. (2014, May 21). What’s Education for, Privilege or Meritocracy? openDemocracyUK [website]. Available at

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ornette D. Clennon
    • 1
  1. 1.Critical Race and Ethnicity Research Cluster, Community Wellbeing Research CentreManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations