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Guest editorial: should we pay more attention to South-North learning?

Lewis, David ORCID: 0000-0003-0732-9020 (2017) Guest editorial: should we pay more attention to South-North learning? Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership and Governance, 41 (4). pp. 327-331. ISSN 2230-3131

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Identification Number: 10.1080/23303131.2017.1366222


In an ever-globalizing world, opportunities for exchanging ideas across national and regional boundaries that address problems of poverty and inequality are increasing. In particular, much attention is now given within the worlds of international development policy and practice to the importance of promoting the idea of “South-South” cooperation, learning and exchange. Since the colonial era, many in the “Global North” have simply assumed that rich Western countries know best, and that a transfer (rather than exchange) of knowledge, technology and expertise needs to take place from “developed” to “developing” countries. South-South cooperation challenges this assumption by drawing attention to the ways poorer countries can support and help each other. The key idea is that successful ideas and innovations developed in one developing country may be more likely to be successfully transferred to another poor country where local conditions and institutional realities have more in common than those originating in the usually very different context of the “Global North”. South-South cooperation has become a new buzzword among development policy makers, bringing a timely and necessary shift that can support efforts to counteract years of one-way travel, and generate organizational and policy innovations. Should we – and by “we” I mean people such as myself who live in a rich country of the North - now go even further and ask: “Can ideas drawn from organizations of, or working in, the poorest countries also help to improve the work of human service organizations in the wealthy countries of the world?” In this brief editorial, I argue that in this rapidly-changing world that we should, and that furthermore, we in the Global North might also want to go further and also throw away our outmoded cognitive maps that have been based on unhelpful binary thinking and participate more fully in the global marketplace of ideas.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2017 08:00
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 15:53

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