A legacy of solidaric critique and hope for a better world: A meditation on the scholarly contribution of Ronald Sultana





Educational sociology, Comparative policy, Social justice


In this article, we reflect on the legacy of Ronald Sultana who died on Friday 24th November 2023. We argue that he was a major figure in the development of career guidance theory and practice of the late 20th and early 21st century. The article begins by reflecting on and summarising his contribution to the fields of education and career guidance. While we focus on his contribution in the field of career guidance, we also acknowledge that this work sits in a wider body of work in which Sultana’s sociological imagination addressed the operation of the education system around the Mediterranean, across Europe and in the Global South. We explore Sultana’s contribution to theory, policy and practice. We argue that in relation to theory he situated careers in context, carefully traced the range of political roles that career guidance could play and argued for career guidance as a force for social justice. In relation to policy, we highlight his role in international reviews and his critical commentary on this kind of policy borrowing and lending. In relation to practice, we focus on Sultana’s development of resources and study programmes promoting lifelong guidance, and the leveraging of networking to develop a united community of professionals. Finally, we consider the challenges that Ronald left for us and discuss what those who seek to build on his legacy could do.

Author Biographies

  • Tristram Hooley, University of Derby / Inland Norway University

    Tristram Hooley is Professor of Career Education at the International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby and the Section for Guidance Studies, Inland Norway University

  • Rie Thomsen, Aarhus University

    Professor with Special Responsibilities, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University

  • Manwel Debono, University of Malta

    Associate Professor, Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Malta


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