Local responses to globalizaton: policy, curricula, and student cultural productions at a Colombian public university

by Daza, Stephanie Lynn

Abstract (Summary)
Globalizing trends—underscored by neoliberalism, privatization, and imperial legacies—are changing the nature and purpose of education across the world. Manifestations of these trends, however, vary in different locales, as do responses to them. Indeed, globalizing trends are continuously shaped and reshaped by local practices in diverse contexts. Drawing on theoretical perspectives from discourse analysis and cultural studies, this dissertation analyzes and complicates local discursive formations of globalizing trends at La Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS), a public university in Colombia, South America. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted at the UIS between July 2003 and June 2004, this dissertation examines local, national, and global dynamics in UIS policy, curriculum, and student cultural productions. By analyzing student-produced materials, including graffiti, campaign flyers, and political cartoons as local practices in response to globalizing trends, this study shows that such cultural productions openly contest and reshape globalizing trends. These student materials offer counter-discourses that reconstitute globalizing trends as “US imperialism” and as shared pubic, not private, concerns. Complicating the decolonizing effects produced by their counter-discourses, some student-produced materials ignore or reify gender and other hierarchies in order to resist imperial-global ones. Embedded in global, national, and local policy contexts, the practice of policy as/in curriculum at the UIS also is a focus of this dissertation. Namely, this study considers local practices of and responses to a nationally mandated citizenship course entitled Ética. By offering Ética, the university is clearly in compliance with national policy and law. However, by examining curriculum policy, syllabi, readings, and historical formations of the course, as well as practices and perceptions of instructors and students, this study shows that Ética is often dismissed and contested. Therefore, the in/out binary of compliance is displaced. Compliance is more complicated; and it is theorized as a performance. Moreover, Ética is contested because as part of the imperial legacy in Colombia and at the UIS it positions students as barbarians in need of civilizing. Working against this, some students reclaim the barbarian subject-position, disrupting the civilized/barbarian and colonizer/colonized binaries. In short, this dissertation examines and complicates local innovations of policy, curriculum, and practice at the UIS in light of, or perhaps in spite of, globalizing trends.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:globalization higher education policy curriculum students colombia imperialism postcolonial political cartoons graffiti citizenship civic barbarism


Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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