Charles Bradley

  • Ph.D. Student


J. Charles Bradley's dissertation research is funded by the SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship and extends insights from neo-institutionalist and inhabited institutionalist scholars to tell a dual story about ‘decolonizing’ and ‘localizing’ transformations taking place across the field of education in emergencies and the micro-level beliefs, practices, and incongruities that arise for educators tasked with confronting these changes in early childhood programs for refugees.

Localization efforts promise to advance alternatives to dominant top-down education models, but paradoxically, ‘localization’ is also emerging as a new ‘global best practice’ itself, propagated by global experts and replete with universalistic claims.

This project is situated at the heart of this tension and asks: What opportunities for power sharing are opened or foreclosed as localization becomes a dominant best practice in global education programming? Whose vision of cultural particularity is operationalized and in what ways? And; how do actors in a global education field understand and overcome tensions that arise when their universalist ambitions interact with localization as a best practice?

Experts in the early childhood development in emergencies (ECDiE) field are pressured towards universalizing visions of childhood development and yet, legitimized by the broader turn towards localization, there are organizations that see themselves as advancing alternative, more locally rooted visions of childhood in displacement. To study these struggles over institutional meanings in ECDiE, Charles draws upon recent work in the inhabited institutions tradition to trace the ways in which meanings in institutional fields—like ECDiE—are produced via group social interactions.

His study pulls from 12-months of multi-sited participant observations within three European NGOs, interviews with ECDiE educators and experts, and a review of key policy and practice documents. The sample of  NGOs include three organizations implementing early learning programs for refugee families-- two in Greece and one in Hungary.


Ph.D., University of Virginia, expected 2024
Ed.M., Columbia University’s Teachers College, 2019
B.S., Humboldt State University, 2010

Curriculum Vitae