The theme for the next special issue is the Internationalization of Higher Education.


Details for the call for submissions will be posted soon.




Special Issue Volume 11, Issue 1

Submission Closed

Call for papers for the Special Issue:

Performative and Relational Ontologies in Education

Volume 11, Issue 1

          Theories that emphasize a performative and relational ontology of the world have been gaining track in the social sciences and thus shifting thinking paradigms and research approaches. The field of education has not been immune to this ontological shift, in fact, the last 10 years have seen a considerable increase in a body of research work engaging theories such as post-structuralism (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987), new materiality (Coole and Frost, 2010; Braidotti, 2013), feminist materialism (Alaimo and Heckman, 2008;), posthumanism (Barad, 2007), relational ontologies (Haraway, 2016; Tuck, 2010; Todd, 2016), actor-network theory (Latour, 2007), assemblage theory (De Landa, 2016), non-representational theories (Zembylas, 2017), affect theories (Massumi, 2015), post-qualitative inquiry (St. Pierre, 2017) and others.

          These theories question certain foundational assumptions of modernity including binaries of nature-society, subject-object, agency-structure, knowledge-power, among others, and stress a nature-culture fluidity. More importantly, performative, relational ontologies problematize the primacy of the human subject as agent and understand agency of humans and nonhumans as entangled. This ontological shift highlights the materiality of the world as becoming, where subjects do not exist a priori, but are performed into existence, and phenomena are effects of this human and nonhuman relationality.

          In educational research, as scholars bypass Cartesian binaries, decenter the human, and understand agency as emerging within the phenomenon, these theories have opened new opportunities and expanded the horizons of the possible. For example, scholars like St. Pierre (2011; 2017) have laid the groundwork for post-qualitative inquiry, using concepts and theories as primary design elements of research. An example is in Jackson and Mazzei’s (2012) ‘thinking with theory’, where philosophical concepts are used in practices of inquiry; Lenz Taguchi (2010) goes beyond the theory/practice divide and introduces intra-active pedagogies that turn our attention to the “force and impact of material objects and artefacts” in learning. Davies and Gannon (2009) rethink the relations between pedagogy and place; Kuby and Rucker (2016) experiment with literacy desiring as alternatives to sociocultural framings of children’s literacies, and de Freitas and Sinclair (2014) propose an inclusive materialism that configures learning not as the work of the individual human but as the effects of human and nonhuman assemblages.

          Our aim for this issue is to create a collective of educational work that engages with performative and relational ontological theories, asks new questions, and creates different narratives. In doing so, we hope to disrupt the status quo and the ‘taken for granted’ in educational practice, triggering new imaginaries and, as Haraway (2016) would say, creating new worlding speculations.

            Thus, we invite emerging and established scholars to submit their research articles, conceptual inquiries, book reviews, poems and other work in traditional and non-traditional formats that have been informed by performative, relational theories and concepts.

          We offer the following questions as possible sources of inspiration for authors:

  1. How have the use of concepts such as rhizomes, intra-action, diffraction, nature-culture, desiring or affect created new meanings in your pedagogical and/or research practice?
  2. What tensions or challenges have you encountered in shifting from conventional qualitative methodologies in research towards post-qualitative inquiry?
  3. How does decentering the human and human agency shape your views and understanding of teaching and learning?
  4. How have performative and relational ontologies informed ethics and politics in educating for social justice?

          We welcome papers and other work in a broad range of topics within education, including but not limited to:

  • Curriculum
  • Literacies
  • Educational Policy
  • Critical issues: gender, race, violence, resistance, etc.
  • Early childhood education
  • Arts education
  • STEAM education
  • Adult education
  • Environmental education
  • Disability studies


Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Braidotti, R. (2013). The posthuman. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Coole, D. & Frost, S. (2010). New materialisms: Ontology, agency, and politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Davies, B., & Gannon, S. (Eds.). (2009). Pedagogical encounters. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

De Freitas, E., & Sinclair, N. (2014). Mathematics and the body: Material entanglements in the classroom. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

De Landa, M. (2016). Assemblage theory. Edinburgh University Press.

Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1987). Capitalism and schizophrenia: A thousand plateaus. (B. Massumi, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. A. (2012). Thinking with theory in qualitative research. Taylor & Francis.

Kuby, C. R., & Rucker, T. G. (2016). Go be a writer!: Expanding the curricular boundaries of literacy learning with children. Teachers College Press.

Latour, B. (2007). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

St. Pierre, E. A. (2017). Writing Post Qualitative Inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry. doi:1077800417734567.

St. Pierre, E. A. (2011). Post qualitative research: The critique and the coming after. In N. K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (pp. 611-625). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Todd, Z. (2016). An Indigenous feminist’s take on the ontological turn: ‘ontology’ is just another word for colonialism. Journal of Historical Sociology29(1), 4-22.

Tuck, E. (2010). Breaking up with Deleuze: Desire and valuing the irreconcilable. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education23(5), 635-650.