This article unpacks and critiques the scholarship of Elizabeth Rata on the politics of knowledge in education. Rata represents a widespread, though covert, influence within the global academy of an imperialist form of philosophical universalism which has particular significance for Aotearoa New Zealand due to her vocal opposition to Kaupapa Māori education and Māori politics more generally. This article uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to focus on the arguments of one key article, in order to expose its philosophical weaknesses. Our analysis shows that Rata’s scholarship is based on misconceptions of several key terms and concepts, which inexorably lead to inadequate arguments and invalid conclusions, and undermine the cogency of her claims about the ‘dangers’ of Kaupapa Māori education.
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