Call for Papers: The challenge of English as the only hypercentral language in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care


Call for Papers: The challenge of English as only hypercentral language in the field of Early
Childhood Education and Care

Editors: Dr. Tomas Ellegard, Roskilde University, Denmark and Dr. Helge Wasmuth, Mercy
University, United States

Like within almost all other disciplines, the transnational discourse about Early Childhood
Education and Care (ECEC) is thoroughly dominated by the English language. While, of course,
national discourses and supranational languages such as Chinese, Spanish, or Hindi exist and are
essential, only English functions as what Swaan terms the only “hypercentral” language (Swaan,

That has benefits, of course. Everyone speaking English can participate in such transnational
discourses and thus share research insights and express genuine ideas. However, the dominance of
English simultaneously presents problems and dilemmas. Depending on your place in the world
language system (Swann, 2001), language serves as a specific form of cultural capital –
namely linguistic capital. Those who do not have English as their first language are at a
disadvantage, and those who feel impeded because they lack proficiency in the English language
may even be excluded. Fluency in English gives a symbolic advantage to those who have English as
their native language – and conversely disadvantages those who have English as their second or
even third language.

Furthermore, the dominance of the English language automatically predetermines the tone and
content of discourses as it relies on a certain language and a certain way of thinking and speaking
about ECEC. Specific cultural and conceptual meanings dominate and thus define the “truths”
(Foucault, 1987) of our field. These “truths” are often taken for granted instead of being critically
examined and justified (MacNaughton, 2006), and thereby dominate the discourses about ECEC
worldwide. Important educational concepts from other languages and cultures need to be translated
into the hypercentral language and are thus in danger of being leveled and losing their genuine

For this special issue of GER we are seeking papers that correspond with at least one of the
following topics:
• How do languages (and cultures) shape the way we think and talk about children and
• How are such assumptions being modified when practitioners/scholars are forced to
participate in the transnational discourse and English as the hypercentral language?
• How can we find meaning in transnational discourses if our understandings of key terms (for
example, ’play,’ ’assessment,’ and ’kindergarten’) vary in the local context?
• How can we participate in transnational discourses if key terms (for example, the German
concept of ‘Bildung’) don’t have an appropriate translation?
• How can transnational discourses help the ECEC profession find a genuine ‘language of
ECEC’; a stronger voice that emphasizes what ECEC stands for without marginalizing local
contexts and traditions?
• Challenges of translating educational theories and concepts (such as Freire, Fröbel, or
• Challenges of transnational research projects and finding a common language

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words using 12-point font to by
February 15, 2024. Attach your abstract as a Word document (please do not send PDFs) and write
Global Education Review in the subject line of your email. Abstracts will be reviewed for fit and
you will be informed by March 1, 2024 if the article is invited for review. Full manuscripts will be due by
July 31, 2024. The issue will be published in March 2025.


Foucault, M. (1987). The ethic of care for the self as a practice of freedom. In Bernauer J. & Rasmussen, D.
(eds). The Final Foucault. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
MacNaughton, G. (2006). Doing Foucault in Early Childhood Studies: Applying Poststructual Ideas.
London and New York: Routledge.
Swaan, A. de. (2001). A political scoiology of the world language system. In B. R. Eliezer & Y. Sternberg
(Eds.), ldentity, culture, and globalization (pp. 206–232).


Authors of articles invited for review are required to participate in a blind review of up to two
articles submitted for publication in the same issue.