Stupidity or what? The tenacious transformative learner grappling with the neoliberal world

In this paper I build upon my thirty years of turning experience into learning by applying the theory and practice of transformative learning in the context of international development practice in Nepal. I revisit a particular epistemological tension that opened up insight into the neoliberal concept of individualisation and the notion of personal development as individuation.

With critical reflection I revisit my doctorial thesis (transformative learning and development practice) together with an analysis of transformative learning activities facilitated. I articulate a seldom heard development practitioner’s voice within international development. Concern is mounting in international development that practices do not sufficiently engage in transformative practices, and where the insidiousness of the neoliberal influence distresses the transformative learner. A disorientating dilemma arises as a result of my tenacity to promote transformative learning working across cultures in the neoliberal world’s shrinking learning space for deeper understanding and where increasingly superficiality becomes the accepted norm. Consequently the tension increases between my individuation as an adult learner and individualization that demands neoliberal compliance, I grapple with my tenacity as an ethical transformative learner engaged with what seems at times a futile action, as an action of stupidity. Or what?


Format: Roundtable Session


Gael Robertson, University of Edinburgh
Session Date & Time: Thu, 07 Apr 2022 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM EDT