Since the late 20th century there has been a profound socio-cultural, economic and political shift as globalisation, underwritten by developments in telecommunications and information technologies and the ideology of ‘free trade’ agreements, has continued apace, promoting a form of world economic integration but with strong regional differences and widening inequalities between the North and South. In advanced economies the increased automation of the tertiary sector and a shift to service-oriented industries has accompanied the rise of the ‘knowledge economy’.
National governments, under the banners of ‘choice’ and ‘diversity’, are experimenting with new forms of schooling and education that are based on customised responses to individual needs and personalised learning. In the USA, the Bush regime passed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that now assesses the success of schools in terms of the measurement of the academic achievement of all students with a focus on under-performing schools. This new policy culture of measurement, accountability, flexibility and compliance—sometimes called “diploma mills”--is aimed at improving achievement levels of elementary and secondary school students based on the view that the USA must improve its skill base and student achievement levels if it is to retain its pre-eminence as an economic super power and compete with rapidly industrializing nations of China and India. In the UK, Tony Blair has talked of the end of the comprehensive school era—an end of mass schooling as we know it, and has sought to develop a range of specialist schools or academies. Blair has declared the end of “one-size-fits-all” ideology that characterized the welfare era and now increasingly seeks ‘social market’ solutions to state provision, regulation and funding through the promotion of private-public partnerships. All of these factors and trends, in their complex interaction, have increased the significance of education both as one of the leading service industries of the future and as one of the few governmental means through which issues of social inclusion, social cohesion, national culture and identity, and citizenship can be addressed.
At the same time these globalization forces have greatly impacted both on the nature of education and its organizational forms, including schools and universities, and its student populations. More than ever before the market assumes a central role in the formation of identity as global consumer cultures now provide a major source of values and consumer styles brand and identify young people. Now we can no longer assume the students are one homogenous group or that they are the same as their counterparts of the late 1960's and early 1970's. Now differences exist over a broad range of opinions, attitudes, and behaviors within widely different social, cultural, political, and personal contexts. This series uses the concept student cultures to register these differences.
In terms of new perspectives, the series will explore social constructionism, critical theory, hermeneutics, feminism, mediation, narratology and narrative studies, poststructuralism and the work of Michel Foucault and how these have in turn influenced research and practice in guidance and counseling. One major development has been narrative therapy.
The series is committed to publishing single-authored and joint-authored books and edited collections that focus on current developments and issues. The series is also committed to publishing high quality, innovative and original work that adopts a critical view of new developments in counseling and other related to student cultures, viewing these within the wider parameters of contemporary socio-cultural political contexts.
Iasonas Lamprianou and James A. Athanasou
A Post-Constructivist Perspective on Education, Learning, and Development
Edited by Wolff-Michael Roth
with colleagues and in some of my writings actually described myself as a learner. Whatever the theory said was different from what I was aware of as a knower and learner. In the constructivist account, my subjectivity, my self, and my role as subject of activity had disappeared. This disappearance of