By Julian Culp

In this contribution I argue that some contemporary analyses of “Western education” from a postcolonial perspective might be themselves ideological because they might rely on a certain essentialization of the “East,” which in turn might lead the postcolonial theorists to endorse a mistaken construction of the difference between the “West” and the “East.” My argumentation will proceed in two steps. In a first step I will point to and explain the remarkable attempt that Vivek Chibber has undertaken in Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital (2013) to unveil how postcolonial theory itself can become ideological. In a second step, I will argue that it is false to limit the validity of democratic understandings of justice and of citizenship education to “the West” on the ground that democracy would be a “Western” idea that is absent from “the East.”  The upshot of my discussion will be that we cannot simply take for granted that there is a fundamental difference between “the East” and “the West,” but have to engage in social-scientific and humanistic inquiry to identify which differences are real and which are merely imagined.



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