Date of Award

8-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Administration

First Advisor

Hytten, Kathy

Abstract

Scholars agree that there may be no better time for Sub-Saharan African countries to create the conditions for a more peaceful and democratic reality than now. This optimism is driven in part by the possibilities for development unleashed by neoliberal globalization and the current tremendous human and material potential of African countries. Where consensus fails, however, is how to create these peaceful and democratic conditions. As the status quo of transition countries in Sub-Saharan African countries shows, the amalgamation of the distant legacy of the colonial past and the not so promising threats of the deleterious effects of neoliberal globalization are creating a mix of prosaic socio-political delirium that compromises possibilities for democratic participation and peaceful coexistence. Perhaps the new threat yet that is driving this optimism down within the region is the emergence of Islamic radicalism that has unleashed a wave of terror activities in countries such as Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania. Still, education for democracy has and can significantly mitigate rampant acts of violence and help countries move towards a more peaceful and democratic reality. And this begs the question: In light of the challenges of neoliberal globalization, how can education contribute to building peace and promoting democratic citizenship in Sub-Saharan Africa? Extant research suggests that since the end of the Cold War, many Sub-Saharan African countries have been going through severe crises, most of which involve violent conflicts. Although these violent conflicts have been attracting attention within the international community in general, and the academic circle in particular, violence continues. We are yet to find effective ways to address it and to develop theoretical and practical resources that can help us to work towards more peaceful realities. Using critical theory, in this study I bring the literature on peace and democratic education to the SSA context in order to rethink how education may better contribute to peace efforts. Findings from this study suggest that critical democratic education can help birth a more democratic and peaceful reality in transition countries in Sub-Saharan countries. However, in order to achieve this goal, substantive reforms are needed in the current education systems. Additionally, school stakeholders must receive the training needed about practical ways to employ this vision of education. It is my hope that the results of this study will enhance our understanding of the process of deploying education in support of democracy in post-conflict countries within an era of globalization where the demands upon educational institutions to support economies are serious distractions from the core problems that post-conflict countries face.

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