1st Edition

Revolutions in Learning and Education from India Pathways towards the Pluriverse

By Christoph Neusiedl Copyright 2021

    This book offers an important critique of the ways in which mainstream education contributes to perpetuate an inherently unjust and exploitative Development model. Instead, the book proposes a new anarchistic, postdevelopmental framework that goes beyond Development and schooling to ask what really makes a meaningful life.

    Challenging the notion of Development as a win-win relationship between civil society, the state and the private sector, the book argues that Development perpetuates a hierarchical world order and that the education system serves to reinforce and re-legitimise this unequal order. Drawing on real-life examples of ‘unschooling’ and ‘self-designed learning’ in India, the book demonstrates that more autonomous approaches such as these can help to fundamentally challenge dominant ideas of education, equality, development and what it means to lead meaningful lives.

    The interdisciplinary approach pursued in this book makes it perfect for anyone with interests across the areas of education, development studies, radical political theory and philosophy.




    Introduction: Moving Beyond Development and Modern Education

    1. Between Neoliberalism and Hindutva: Deconstructing India’s Development Paradigm

    2. Anarchistic Postdevelopment and the Ontological Politics of Equality

    3. From OWW Development to OWW Education

    4. The Axiom of (In-)Equality: Towards an Anarchistic Postdevelopmental Education (ANPED)

    5. ANPED in Practice: Radical Unschooling among Families

    6. ANPED in Practice: Unschooling in Marginalised Communities

    7. ANPED in Practice: The Swaraj (Un-)University Model

    Conclusion: Crafting New Pathways Towards the Pluriverse



    Christoph Neusiedl has extensive experience across the field of alternative education, working with 'unschooling' organisations such as Project DEFY, Bangalore, India. He also worked as Development consultant in Bangladesh. His PhD thesis in Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong was awarded the City University Outstanding Research Thesis Award 2019.

    "Christoph Neusiedl’s Revolutions in Learning and Education from India details the promotion of inequality in development theory and education and offers a more egalitarian learning approach. Using India as a test case, he shows how the denial of local and egalitarian knowledges reinforce a hierarchical neoliberal order and then follows alternative educational practices that foster more flourishing lives. This book is an invaluable resource for understanding where we are and how we might resist neoliberal hegemony." – Todd May, Class of 1941 Memorial Professor of the Humanities, Clemson University, USA


    "This timely book joins the growing chorus of critical voices calling for a radical rethinking of our assumptions about how children should be educated, in the face of contemporary political, environmental and economic crises. In focusing on the artificial hierarchies created and sustained by our current systems, and weaving together insights from postdevelopment theory, anarchist theory and philosophy of education, the author offers an original perspective on these critical questions. These theoretical perspectives are combined with a fascinating analysis of neo-liberal education policy and resistant unschooling practices in India, offering an inspiring illustration of the political significance of grass-roots radical education movements." – Judith Suissa, Professor of Philosophy of  Education, Institute of Education, University College London, UK


    "Revolutions in Learning and Education from India is a fascinating exercise in rekindling hope, looking beyond our catastrophic present. Drawing on a number of different theoretical resources from postdevelopment thought to anarchism and the philosophy of Jacques Rancière, Christoph Neusiedl focuses on some novel experiments in the field of ‘education’ and ‘unschooling’ in India, to tell an amazing story of finding pathways to the pluriverse." – Aditya Nigam, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), India


    "For too long, a certain conceptual paradigm, based on a neoliberal economic model of development, has dominated the world – what the author calls OWW or One-World world. This model is now breaking down in the wake of localized experiments in self-management, practices which have always existed but have been marginalized by Western-centric discourses. In this original and fascinating book, Neusiedl explores this emergent pluriverse in terms of autonomous forms of self-education or ‘unschooling’ in India, which he sees as an anarchistic practice based on the presumption of radical equality." – Saul Newman, Professor of Political Theory, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK

    "Christoph Neusiedl's work moves beyond the idea of critically looking at what is happening in education as it engages with ideas and practices on the ground. The book provides a much needed insight into the question of transformative education in the Indian context through weaving together social theory, philosophy, and literature on education."— Ravi Kumar, Associate Professor, South Asian University, India