CGD Critical Realism Seminar with Professor Leon Tikly

CGD Critical Realism Seminar with Professor Leon Tikly

This is a past event

Critical Realism and International Development: Some Implications for Research, Policy and Practice


The presentation will discuss the relevance of the philosophy of critical realism for international development and explore some of the implications for research, policy and practice.  The presentation starts with a critique of dominant research paradigms in international development, including empiricism and interpretivism, and makes the general case for a 'third way' offered by critical realism. In outlining the philosophy of critical realism, attention will focus on how ontology, epistemology, causality, ethics, structure and agency are conceived. Attention will then turn to the implications of the discussion for research, policy and practice in international development. A case will be made for transdisciplinarity and knowledge co-creation between researchers, policymakers, practitioners and the intended beneficiaries of research as a basis for tackling the complex, 'wicked' problems of unsustainable development. In this way, it will be argued research can contribute to more impactful and ethically informed processes of policy and practice.


Photo of man smiling against pink background.

Leon Tikly is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and UNESCO Chair on Transforming Knowledge and Research for Just and Sustainable Futures at the University of Bristol. He has recently directed a UKRI-funded network plus on Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures with partners in India, Rwanda, Somalia/ Somaliland and South Africa (UKRI; £4.75 million; 2019-23). His scholarship over many years has focused on globalisation and education policy in the postcolonial world and on initiatives to improve the quality of education for disadvantaged learners, particularly in Africa. Between 2005-11 he directed a research programme consortium on Improving Education Quality in Low Income Countries (EdQual) (DfID; £2.5 million). He has also conducted a number of research projects and written extensively on issues of race, ethnicity and education in the UK and globally. More recently he has written at the intersection between decolonial scholarship and education for sustainable futures. His work is informed theoretically by critical realism, postcolonial and decolonial perspectives and is underpinned by a commitment to social, environmental and epistemic justice.

Professor Leon Tikly
Hosted by
Centre for Global Development

Pre-booking is not required, but please email if you would like a calender invite forwarded to you.