Postcolonialism, conflict and education in Afghanistan

Title: Postcolonialism, conflict and education in Afghanistan
Authors: Girouard-Frappier, Pascale
Date: 2014-01-21
Abstract: The field of development has known many subtle, yet important changes in terms of objectives. As Jo Beall (2011), a major break has been observed with practices observed in the 1990’s; security objectives seem to have become more prevalent and have superseded development on the priority list of the international agenda. The case of Afghanistan is outstanding and unique. Following the events of 9/11, the United States, and other “western” countries, led a “War on Terror” in Afghanistan (abroad) to eliminate the Taliban threat and secure the homeland. Under the Obama administration, a counterinsurgency strategy replaced the initial counter-terrorism approach; i.e., a “population-centric” approach aiming to provide much needed basic services in order to gain population’s support and increase government legitimacy. Much ink has been spilled to discuss the impact of such change; however, few have attempted to look at security-education nexus. In this paper, I use a postcolonial viewpoint to explore how the Afghan education system can play a major role in maintaining relations of power between the “western” countries and Afghanistan. I argue that, as a response to the new fear of Islam and its discursive potential threat for the United State identity (especially in relation to the events of 9/11) and position of power, there is an attempt to secularize the Afghan subject through education. A critical discourse analysis of various official American documents (such as speeches offered by various leaders and policy documents) is conducted to appreciate the relationship between security and education. Furthermore, a look at the modifications in the Afghan curriculum and education system since the ousting of the Taliban shed light on the practices arising from the security discourse.
CollectionDIM - Mémoires // IDGS - Research Papers