Population policies and education: Exploring the contradictions of neo-liberal globalisation

Catherine Bovill, Margaret Leppard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The world is increasingly characterised by profound income, health and social inequalities (Appadurai, 2000). In recent decades development initiatives aimed at reducing these inequalities have been situated in a context of increasing globalisation with a dominant neo-liberal economic orthodoxy. This paper argues that neo-liberal globalisation contains inherent contradictions regarding choice and uniformity. This is illustrated in this paper through an exploration of the impact of neo-liberal globalisation on population policies and programmes. The dominant neo-liberal economic ideology that has influenced development over the last few decades has often led to alternative global visions being overlooked. Many current population and development debates are characterised by polarised arguments with strongly opposing aims and views. This raises the challenge of finding alternatives situated in more middle ground that both identify and promote the socially positive elements of neo-liberalism and state intervention, but also to limit their worst excesses within the population field and more broadly. This paper concludes with a discussion outlining the positive nature of middle ground and other possible alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-414
Number of pages21
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • neoliberalism
  • population
  • international development


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