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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Why Ecology of Knowledges and Multilingual Habitus Matter in Higher Degree Research Student Training

  • Author(s): Ndhlovu, Finex J.
  • Kelly, Stephen John
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Scholars speaking from Southern perspectives have long argued in favor of recognizing diverse ways of knowing and against the hegemony of Euro-modernist epistemologies that have crystallized into orthodoxy within the academy. Euro-modernist epistemologies proceed from positivist “scientific” principles that turn a blind eye to the diversity of ways of reading and interpreting social experience. They reflect and represent subjective perceptions about what constitutes valid and legitimate knowledge. In this paper, we address the question: How do we prepare higher degree research students for the opportunities that flow and strategic challenges that arise from a diverse global network of knowledge societies? We suggest “ecology of knowledges paradigm” and “multilingual habitus” as the linchpin of higher degree research student training. This approach brings together diverse linguistic and cultural traditions to mediate pathways for producing interconnected forms of knowledge that transcend the limits of monolingual and mono-epistemic ways of seeing. The argument is that the struggle for cognitive justice in education and training is inseparable from the broader struggle for global social justice.

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