Publication Details

This book chapter is published as Fox, C, Learning in new times: globilisation, learning and the postcolonial condition, in Kell, P, Vialle, W, Konza, D and Vogl, G (eds), Learning and the learner: exploring learning for new times, University of Wollongong, 2008, 236p. Complete book available here.


‘Globalisation and postcoloniality are perhaps two of the most important terms in social and cultural theory today’ (Gikandi 2001, pg 627). Learners in the 21st century are immersed in local, national and international learning settings that are transformed by new global cultures. In earlier times, Western ideas of modernisation and social change were drawn on to explain shifts in learning experience as students learned new technologies, and developed expertise around new workplaces or professions. In our new times, students live in an incoherent transitional state between the excitement of ever broadening access to information and the crisis of disintegration of old certainties. On the one hand, learning is deeply affected by the homogenising influence of a global economy and a certain sameness to education policy around the world. On the other hand, learning is heavily influenced by global sociocultural heterogeneity, by a popular culture that grabs and disperses everything and everyone through the media outlets, and by an emerging crisis of identity.

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