Big Stories, Small Stories: Beyond Disputatious Theory Towards ‘Multilogue’

  • Sonia Mehta
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 22)

As an ‘international’ student of comparative education, I entered the fi eld of comparative international education, bringing with me a very different academic tradition and cultural history. I saw the fi eld as a durbar (or ‘King’s court’, in Hindi) of theories, presided over by an organizational structure that positioned it within a certain range of disciplinary academic frameworks. This disciplinary lexicon was further disciplined by professorial choice of syllabi. This was a powerful court, and its arguments were familiar, if distant. I made haste to learn its language. I paid attention to the glittering promises of the largest stories: the upliftment of all humankind, and the promise of progress. I wore these as mantels in my own grand design of scholarship. Inevitably, I was disenchanted: there appeared no way to articulate the different and separate (and to me, precious) sets of stories I carried around with me like a secret. There was a reason I had come into the fi eld with my own small stories, thinking they meant something in a larger canvas, and I was not alone: other students came with other small stories. I found my stories becoming more obscure, as language failed them and socio-educational practice left them on a distant margin. There was no advocacy for them in the durbar of comparative education studies, more out of neglect and insularity rather than specifi c malignancy.


Knowledge Culture Educational Change International Education Critical Discourse Analysis Comparative Education 
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  • Sonia Mehta

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