Europe and the Post Colony: Possibilities for Cosmopolitanism

  • Penny Enslin
Part of the Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education book series (COPT, volume 9)


In shaping the New Europe in a postcolonial world, both cosmopolitanism and postcolonialism offer compelling ideals for Europeans contemplating their relationships with those located in former colonies. In contrasting ways, and with some variation within each perspective, both these ‘isms’ provide a means for breaking out of Eurocentrism, but to what extent are they complementary ideals? Cosmopolitan universalism may sit uneasily beside the particularity necessary to the postcolonial stance. Cosmopolitanism also tends to be a perspective from within the metropolis looking out. On the other hand, while the postcolonial condition pertains almost across the globe, its most urgent expression emanates from the perspective of former colonies and other developing contexts on the receiving end of a global order that favours the rich north, including Europe. I set out to resolve these apparent tensions through a discussion of an educational example, in which the promotion of partnerships between Scottish pupils and their counterparts in Malawi exemplifies an attempt by the descendants of a former colonial power and the previously colonised to address their history of colonialism.


Human Development Index British Empire Postcolonial Theory School Partnership Empire Building 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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