To empower or oppress: approaching duality in educational histories

Matilda Keynes, Beth Marsden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper introduces key themes and debates in education and educational history that engage education's complicity in injustice and violence, as well as those that continue to position education as a vehicle for positive change and possibility. The paper introduces the papers that comprise the special issue “Challenges of Contested Spaces: Constructing Difference and its Legacies in Educational History”. Design/methodology/approach: The paper canvasses pertinent historiographical, theoretical and methodological debates that shed light on education's dual capacity to empower and oppress. Findings: Papers in this collection reveal the many ways that agendas justified in the name of education, training and reform have often invoked that name as justification for actions that harmed, discriminated or oppressed, and yet also, how despite this, education can still be imagined as a space of possibility and transformation. Originality/value: The paper offers a summative introduction to the themes and papers of the special issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalHistory of Education Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2021


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