Discursive contestations and pluriversal futures: A decolonial analysis of educational policies in the United Arab Emirates

Elena Aydarova


Most research on global transformations in education has focused on the actions of political and economic elites. As a result, attempts to contest and subvert globally circulated policies at subnational levels have received less attention. To address this gap, this study focuses on discursive contestations around educational reforms in the United Arab Emirates. Drawing on the theoretical framework of decoloniality (Mignolo, 2011), I explore how Western interventions into educational policies are justified by dominant discourses and challenged by their opponents through public media in the United Arab Emirates. Even though alternative discourses provide constructions of education useful for charting the trajectories of pluriversal futures, the struggle between different voices resolves in favor of global “best” practices. This happens not because they are more rational or universal, but because the voices of dissent are disconnected and fragmented. The significance of this paper lies in employing decolonial lens in the analysis of globally circulated policies and in attending to the voices that become marginalized in the implementation of global reforms. 


Global policies; educational policy transfer; United Arab Emirates; decolonial perspectives

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.3063

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