Francisco Javier Gómez López
Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies (PhD)
Territorial Affirmation: Land Autonomy, Sustainable production and conservation practices in Colombian páramo highland communities
Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
This dissertation focuses on higher education-migration (edugration), arguing that the growing recruitment of international post-secondary students as (im)migrants is (1) a distinct form of economic (im)migration, and (2) has shifted the role of higher education in society. Presenting the Canadian context as an example, it uses a critically-informed, decolonial complexity approach to frame edugration as a wicked problem and explore its ethical complexities and paradoxes, particularly in relation to settler colonialism, surveillance, and border imperialism. Through critical policy analysis, it first demonstrates the role higher education institutions play as actors in Canada’s (im)migration regime, specifically in (1) immigrant selection, and (2) migrant surveillance and bordering. It then employs critical discourse analysis to demonstrate how higher education institutions explicitly positioned themselves as (im)migration actors by instrumentalizing their nation-building function in response to COVID-19 budget concerns. Finally, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘stress test,’ the dissertation uses a mobility justice framework to illustrate how horizons of justice – e.g. how justice is defined, and for whom/what – are often constrained by limited conceptualizations of scale. This limits our ability to recognize complicity and imagine alternative, and potentially more just, possibilities for both education and migration within a modern colonial system.
Beyond the Dusky Maiden records Pasifika women’s experiences of working in higher education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Using a navigational metaphor this dissertation maps the storms within higher education that are slowing down Pasifika people’s journey to success. This dissertation identifies six promising practices for enabling faster change in higher education whilst also considering the hidden conversations that are necessary to identify why institutions need to change. This dissertation recognises the neo-liberal and colonial foundations of higher education and how they contribute to a white masculine imprint that enables and enforces excess labour, non-performative diversity, infantilization, hyper-surveillance, lateral violence, and sexual assault. This dissertation records Pasifika women’s encounters with the white masculine imprint as they attempt to transform higher education institutions. Pasifika women share their methods for survival in higher education spaces in spite of patterns of exclusion. To record Pasifika women’s journey’s this research introduces the masi methodology. The masi methodology centres Pacific/Pasifika women’s voices within the research process ensuring that they are seen as the experts on their own experiences. The Pacific research method of talanoa, a narrative enquiry developed from Pacific people’s oratory tradition is used to engage with twenty-seven Pasifika women about their experiences working in higher education in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
Since the start of the 21st century, Brazil has seen its political and discursive arenas being taken over by debates and controversies over the expansion of civil rights for LGBT+ citizens and government initiatives to combat systemic homophobia across the country, including its school system. These moments have become more frequent in the current scenario of rising religious (ultra)conservatism(s) and increased battling of moralities around gender and sexual orientation issues. Many (ultra)conservative politicians and religious leaders have continuously spread the alarming notion that Brazilian children and adolescents are in great danger and need to be legally protected against moral corruption, unnatural sexualities, and indoctrination into ‘gender ideology,’ turning the Brazilian education system into an ongoing ideological battlefield. For this thesis, I chose the format of a case study to analyze the discourses present in 12 federal bills that were proposed by (ultra)conservative legislators in the National Congress of Brazil from 2015 to 2022. My goal is to examine the language, concepts, ontological premises, and discursive strategies utilized in those documents. All those bills were introduced with the aim of protecting school children and adolescents against the so-called ‘gender ideology,’ which the fundamentalist and (ultra)conservative voices perceive to be a true menace to the existent traditional heterosexual institution in the country and, in their view, the very existence of Brazilian society.
In Chile's rural schools, cognitive, affective and relational violence are frequent experiences. From a decolonial standpoint, this thesis aims to make evident harmful patterns in Natural Sciences (NatS) textbooks and those of History, Geography and Social Sciences (HGeoSS) currently use in Chile’s rural schools. It also wants to localize those arrangements in textbooks’ sanctioned knowledge that facilitate and normalize cognitive violence against Indigenous students and, to a lesser extent, against mestizo rural students. This thesis focuses on those approaches of decolonial theory that investigate the interconnection between language and knowledge production with colonial-modernity or imperialism. I reviewed some contributions from postcolonial studies, modernity/coloniality studies and Indigenous studies. These revisions imply understanding that “colonial modernity” is not only the context where Chilean formal education unfolds but also a condition schooling itself makes possible. In this sense, “colonial modernity” is a structuring foundation of all dominant (western) social and power relations, materials, processes, thought, and consciousness. Such a structuring foundation divides the world and with-it humanity into two, presumably, separate groups and makes possible dichotomic distinctions between people (here I am referring to the notion of abyssal thought. See Sousa Santos, 2007). I conducted a content analysis through the lenses of decolonial thought and created a discussion through social cartography to answer the primary question. This question is: What harmful colonial discourses are present in Chile’s elementary textbooks, including those that are explicitly colonial and those that implicitly reproduce colonial patterns? I assumed an “inductive” approach to qualitative content analysis that implied that the topics for the study emerged from the textbooks, the main research question, and the theoretical framework informing this thesis. The inductive approach avoids the use of theory as explanatory of reality. This way, the analysis I propose here is not intended to be prescriptive of the sources I reviewed.The general conclusion of this thesis is the identification of colonial patterns in textbooks. And also the understanding that this identification is only one part of the long-term decolonizing work, which also requires interrupting and disinvesting our individual and collective investments in those harmful colonial patterns that reproduce colonial-modernity.
North to South mobility experiences are increasingly offered as components of higher education, be it in the form of international service learning or study abroad. While these experiences are often associated with transformation on the part of the participants, the conceptualizations of what this transformation is or could be are dependent on whether it is undertaken through a traditional, critical or post-critical conceptual approach. This study grows out of an identified lack of well-documented alternatives to the dominant (traditional and critical) approaches to North-South mobility experiences in higher education as well as a frustration with scholarly work that is limited to critique. This thesis explores the possibility of a post-critical approach to educational North to South mobility experiences and how this might foster transformation that shifts how participants of the program relate to themselves, others, and knowledge. This thesis aims to investigate how a post-critical conceptualization, as distinct from a traditional or critical one, might contribute to widened possibilities for the North to South mobility encounter in higher education that could allow for dominant narratives and affective patterns to begin to be disrupted.This research study is an intrinsic case study which included participant observation and in-depth semi-structured interviews with participants of the Social Innovation and Community Development program in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2017. The case is a living example of the tensions and paradoxes inherent in North to South mobility experiences. The findings that emerge illustrate the challenges of articulation and challenges of design involved in implementing an educational North to South mobility experience characterized by a post-critical approach. The analysis showed that participants’ experiences of transformation were very much framed within the scripts that are most dominant and available to them. The case study highlighted challenges of articulation and design of a post-critical approach, but also demonstrated how there continues to be pedagogical potential in these types of encounters to engage with an education that disrupts the persistent narratives and desires that constrain relationships (with self, others and knowledge) in ways that are epistemologically and ontologically limiting.