Globalization as Continuing Colonialism – Critical Global Citizenship Education in an Unequal World


  • Pia Mikander University of Helsinki



In an unequal world, education about global inequality can be seen as a controversial but necessary topic for social science to deal with. Even though the world no longer consists of colonies and colonial powers, many aspects of the global economy follow the same patterns as during colonial times, with widening gaps between the world’s richest and the world’s poorest. An analysis of Finnish textbook texts includes practical examples of how globalization is portrayed within basic education. It reveals that the textbooks vary in their interpretations of the relationship between colonialism and globalization. The people of the North are rarely portrayed as responsible for the poverty in the South. Globalization is not described as a politically implicated phenomenon. The article also presents the critical global citizenship education initiative as an approach to the topic. It suggests that students can learn to challenge common assumptions that conceal the historical and structural roots of power relations. Teaching about privilege can be seen as another supplementary method to help students understand their position in the world.