In the last decade, there has been an international resurgence of interest in the philosophy of Louis Althusser. New essays, journalism, collections, secondary literature, and even manuscripts by Althusser himself are emerging, speaking in fresh ways to audiences of theorists and activists. Althusser is especially important in educational thought, as he famously claimed that school is the most impactful ideological state apparatus in modern society. This insight inspired a generation of educational researchers, but Althusser’s philosophy—unique in a number of ways, one of which was its emphasis on education—largely lost popularity.
Despite this resurgence of interest, and while Althusser’s philosophy is important for educators and activists to know about, it remains difficult to understand.
The Gold and the Dross: Althusser for Educators, with succinct prose and a creative organization, introduces readers to Althusser’s thinking. Intended for those who have never encountered Althusser’s theory before, and even those who are new to philosophy and critical theory in general, the book elaborates the basic tenets of Althusser’s philosophy using examples and personal stories juxtaposed with selected passages of Althusser’s writing. Starting with a beginner’s guide to interpellation and Althusser’s concept of ideology, the book continues by elaborating the epistemology and ontology Althusser produced, and concludes with his concepts of society and science.
The Gold and the Dross makes Althusser’s philosophy more available to contemporary audiences of educators and activists.
In this book, the author presents a major challenge to (social) constructivism, which has become an ideology that few dare to critique. Transgressing the boundaries of this ideology, the author develops an alternative epistemology that takes
dwelling as the starting point and ground. Dwelling enables
thinking (‘constructing’). It is an epistemology in which there is a primacy of social relations, which are the first instantiations of the higher psychological functions ascribed to humans. Starkly contrasting constructivism, the author shows how the commonness of the senses and the existence of social relations lead to common sense, which is the foundation of everything rational and scientific. Common sense, which comes from and with dwelling, is the ground in which all education is rooted. Any attempt to
eradicate it literally uproots and thus alienates students from the life and world with which they are so familiar.
Paulo Freire (1921—1997) is well known around the world for his innovative educational philosophy, which has led many to consider him the “father” of both critical pedagogy and popular education. What is less known about Freire, however, is that his politics and pedagogy were informed by a faith birthed in Roman Catholicism, but which also challenged the church to move beyond individual piety to prophetic action. Freire’s spirituality was rooted in the conviction that God calls all people of goodwill to work toward fulfilling the vision of a new humanity given by God. To that end, this book—one of the first of its kind discussing Freire—examines the spirituality that was foundational to his life and teaching, inviting all who have been influenced by Freire to consider the deeper spiritual dimensions of their pedagogical and political work.
Integrating scholarly essays and personal reflections,
Becoming of Two Minds chronicles a unique philosophical odyssey, a developmental journey of coming to recognize the inadequacy of liberalism in the face of some egregious social problems such as racism, while also appreciating its strengths. A Personal Prologue describing the main intellectual influences on the author locates the origins of the journey and functions as a backdrop for its interpretation.
Fifteen chronologically organized essays, divided into three parts, identify significant positions of contrast between the two minds, establishing the direction of the journey and indications of change.
Essays in Part I reflect early allegiance to liberalism and explore its core ideas as they should be interpreted to guide moral education.
Those in Part II express disaffection with that allegiance, taking a distinctly critical stance toward liberalism.
Part III then consists of essays that represent attempts to come to terms with the becoming of two minds exemplified in the tension between the ideas about liberalism expressed in Parts I and II.
A Personal Preface also introduces each of the fifteen essays. These Prefaces address questions such as why the problem of the essay was chosen, why it was approached in a particular way, and what place the essay assumes in the direction the author’s journey takes.
A constant belief seems to give life to Kohan’s theoretical work and philosophical practice. A supposition that one could never prove, or disprove, motivates Kohan’s ceaseless erring and essaying, his efforts to invent school. We read it in-between the lines of nearly all of his published work, and those who have had the chance to take part in his manner of philosophical ask
The word “information” carries a number of connotations depending on context, and can be said to be one of the most problematic words to define despite many efforts by statistical theorists, mathematicians, physicists, cyberneticians, communication theorists, computer scientists, and philosophers. Is information physical or non-physical? Is the universe digital, analog, or a “chaosmic” mixture of the two?
This book explores a Deleuzian way of understanding information by retracing Deleuze’s ontology of difference back to Gilbert Simondon’s concepts of transduction, metastability, and perpetual individuation as a source for Deleuze’s concept of the virtual. Although Deleuze did not address information specifically in his oeuvre, this book attempts to construct what a Deleuzian theory of information might look like as a consequence of his philosophical insights.
The reader is presented with a brief survey of information theories, capsule explanations of the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon and Gilles Deleuze, and a discussion on the roles of metastasis and metastability as a means of addressing the problematic known as information outside of computing regimes, and as a critique of cybernetics, informatics, and memetics. Can information be reconfigured as affirmative difference, transformed into a “nomad science,” or must it remain consigned to the realm of probabilism?
The American Dream that crystallized around James Truslow Adams’
The Epic of America originally formulated in the early 1930s and was conditioned by a decade of complexity and contradiction, of big government projects, intensely fierce nationalism, the definition of the American way, and a distinctive collection of American iconic narratives has had the power and force to successively reshape America for every new generation. Indeed, Adam’s dream of opportunity for each according to ability or achievement shaped against the old class culture of Europe emphasizes a vision of social order in which each person can succeed despite their social origins. Barack Obama, a skillful rhetorician and intelligent politician, talks of restoring the American and has used its narrative resources to define his campaign and his policies. In a time of international and domestic crisis, of massive sovereign debt, of the failure of neoliberalism, of growing inequalities, the question is whether the American Dream and the vision of an equal education on which it rests can be revitalized
A sense of disquietude seems ever present when discussing new digital practices. The transformations incurred through these can be profound, troublesome in nature and far-reaching. Moral panics remain readily available.
Discussing the manner in which digital culture within education might differ from its ‘analogue’ predecessors incurs the risk of resorting to increasingly roadworn metaphors of new frontiers, ‘cyber’ domains, inter-generational conflicts and, inevitably, the futurist utopias and dystopias characterised by Western media throughout the twentieth century. These imaginings now seem to belong to an earlier era of internet thinking. We are freer, over two decades on, to re-evaluate digital difference from new perspectives. Are digital learning environments now orthodox, or do the rapidly emerging technologies hold a new promise and a new arena of difference for pedagogical practice? What are the points of rift, and the points of continuity, between virtual learning spaces and their equivalents in the real? What qualities of difference should concern us now?
The writings in this collection from three continents reflect a complex embrace of culture, power and technology. Topics range from social questions of consumption, speed, uncertainty, and risk to individual issues of identity, selfhood and desire. Ethical issues arise, involving equity and authority, as well as structural questions of order and ambiguity.
From these themes emerges an engaging agenda for future educational research and practice in higher education over the coming decade. The book will interest teachers, practitioners and managers from all disciplines, as well as educational researchers.
This book takes the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and applies it to educational practice. To understand how and why to do this, David R Cole puts forward the notion of educational life-forms in this writing, which are moving concepts based on Deleuzian principles. This book turns on and through the construction of the philosophy of life in education. The life-forms that will come about due to the philosophy of life in education rest on epiphanies, the virtual and affect. The author looks to infuse educational practice with the philosophy of life, though not through simple affirmation or a construction of counter metaphysics to representation in education.
This book explores the relationships between education, lifelong learning and democratic citizenship. It emphasises the importance of the democratic quality of the processes and practices that make up the everyday lives of children, young people and adults for their ongoing formation as democratic citizens. The book combines theoretical and historical work with critical analysis of policies and wider developments in the field of citizenship education and civic learning. The book urges educators, educationalists, policy makers and politicians to move beyond an exclusive focus on the teaching of citizenship towards an outlook that acknowledges the ongoing processes and practices of civic learning in school and society. This is not only important in order to understand the complexities of such learning. It can also help to formulate more realistic expectations about what schools and other educational institutions can contribute to the promotion of democratic citizenship. The book is particularly suited for students, researchers and policy makers who have an interest in citizenship education, civic learning and the relationships between education, lifelong learning and democratic citizenship. Gert Biesta (www. gertbiesta.com) is Professor of Education at the School of Education, University of Stirling, UK.