• Thomas Wanner University of Adelaide


This editorial takes the concept of empowerment
as the focal point and connecting issue between the three articles in this volume of ergo. Similar to other areas of social life, such as women’s empowerment or the empowerment of indigenous peoples, there has been an increased interest in teacher and student/learner empowerment in higher education (Kimwarey et al., 2014). Education has long been seen a tool for achieving empowerment of individuals and to create social change (Shoh, 1998). So what is empowerment? As the term suggests, it is about the ‘power’ or capacity and authority of an individual, community or organisation to control decisions and social interactions to their own advantage and interests. Empowerment is a process of increasing the level of self-determination and autonomy of speci c agents; and decreasing the level of dependency and discrimination of the agent. As Houser et al. (2009) state in regards to the empowerment of learners, the state of ‘being empowered’ is a result of intrinsic characteristics of the agent (here the learner), such as self-esteem, motivation, and competence, and external factors that enable empowerment (or empowering factors) such as an empowering teacher. 

Author Biography

Thomas Wanner, University of Adelaide

Anthropology and Development Studies