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Post-worldview? A dialogic meta-narrative analysis of North-South, South-South, and Southern theory

Brian D. Denman (School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, Australia)

International Journal of Comparative Education and Development

ISSN: 2396-7404

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




Utilising dialogic meta-narrative analysis, a form of inquiry based on examining the difference between voices in meaningful and relevant dialogue (Wegerif, 2006, p. 347), the purpose of this paper is to present an examination of three relevant works on theories of the global South for identifying educational patterns, themes, and biases from the worldview perspectives of the respective authors.


In comparative and international education “qualitative” research, the acceptance of differing points of view and reference have often resulted in a fragmented and fractitious affirmation of cultural relativity, whereby the pursuit of truth (Veritas) has been replaced by the pursuit and contestation of a plurality of knowledges and truths. Davies defines this as “discursive practice”, which refers to the way discourse and the production of selves produce and reconstitutes one’s social and psychological realities (Davies, 1999, p. 88). The positional and discursive worldviews relative to “other” are not only dependent on locational, contextual, and time (Zeitgeist) dimensions, but also on disciplinary methodological foundations and subjective interpretations of both experience and choice.


The analysis of the three scholarly works identifies issues of comparative education research from a dialogic and dialectic perspective, suggesting that relativistic notions of research are required and necessary in order to expand horizons and “break out of the box” to broaden one’s imagination.

Research limitations/implications

The questions raised by all three worldviews require further research: Who pays? Who benefits? Should the field contest the positional points-of-reference of comparativists? Should theory and mode of inquiry be made more clear in order to understand and discern the positional authority of the researcher and the researched? Should relevant literature addressing subject material involve greater scrutiny – if not collaboration – between scholars from different worldview perspectives?

Practical implications

Subjectivity, validation and significance of findings contribute to dissemination and advancement of knowledge, and if not robust or rigorous, are simply another point of view.


This is a new paradigmatic approach to problematising comparative and international research from three positional worldviews. The value in problematising the three worldviews helps to delve deeper into the issues at hand regarding the global South.



Denman, B.D. (2017), "Post-worldview? A dialogic meta-narrative analysis of North-South, South-South, and Southern theory", International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, Vol. 19 No. 2/3, pp. 65-77.



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