‘Culture, Politics and Global Justice’ (CPGJ) is a new research cluster bringing together a critical mass of interdisciplinary researchers (academics, early career researchers enrolled in graduate programmes, and associate members) in the Faculty of Education, the University of Cambridge, and beyond. CPGJ’s main focus is to build research capacity and outputs through its activities, and to be recognised as a centre of global excellence around its main themes.

As a broad objective, CPGJ will problematize ‘education’ as it is mediated through social institutions (state/school/family/market), governing projects, and political economies across spaces (e.g. urban areas/nation states/regions/digital platforms), knowledge systems (epistemes such as Western modernity, de/coloniality and neoliberalism), educational processes (policies, practices and pedagogies), and the social and cultural production of identities (learners, teachers, workers, citizens).

CPGJ also works at the interface of timely issues, such as: global human movement, conflicted states and displacement, rising social and global inequalities, elites and expertise, the cultural sociology of displacement, moral economies of education, platform capitalism, big data and new modes of governance, and declining social mobility. To this end, CPGJ engages with a broad range of social, political and cultural theories to interrogate its foundational concepts, and to problematize and generate new and alternative understandings of the world.

Our research is interlaced across three themes:

Race, Empire and Education

We examine historically and sociologically the formations of, and resistances to, racial domination and coloniality in education.

Our research examines the biopolitics of education and new productions of ‘race’; decolonising knowledges, social movements, and pedagogies of resistance; Islamophobia, youth identity and educational practices of everyday bordering; the formations of institutional whiteness in higher education; postcolonial politics of education and international development; representations of racialised, gendered, and classed childhoods in education; and migration, displacement and the production of the ‘preferred’ citizen-subject.

Space, Identities, and Global Inequalities

We investigate the spatial, social and temporal dynamics and outcomes of education at the level of the individual identities, family, groups, notions of community and wider society in the context of human movement, conflict, exile and displacement, and new forms of social immobility. Particular attention is paid to challenges to the promise of social mobility, social integration, intergenerational justice, the politics and knowledges of interculturalism/multiculturalism, and the ongoing consequences of these processes and relations for different social groups, their identities and claims.

States, Markets and Societies

We investigate the changing interplay between political economy, transformations of the state, the market and education in the context of: global and local projects and processes (including conflict states); the spatial extension of the state and other actors into regional and global scales; the rise of markets and human rights politics; new digital infrastructures and their implications for the social contract.

We’re also affiliated with the Cambridge Peace and Education Research Group (CPERG) which provides a hub for research students and faculty at the University of Cambridge to exchange ideas and collaborate on projects that explore the relationships between conflict, peace, and education, both in the UK and internationally. Through its activities, CPERG aims to stimulate connections amongst theory, research and practice.