Predavanja potekajo vsak četrtek ob 18h v klubu Gromka na Metelkovi.
Posemestrsko predavanje: 27.05.2010: Valerija korošec: Predstavitev predloga UTD v Sloveniji
13th year of Workers and Punks University Lectures:
School as Ideological Economy Apparatus
School as Ideological Economy Apparatus
Althusser classified school without hesitation among “ideological state apparatuses” as (at that time still) a state institution, where reproduction of production relations is guaranteed. “In other words, the school (...) teaches ‘know-how’, but in forms which ensure subjection to the ruling ideology or the mastery of its ‘practice’.” Althusser analyzed school under the conditions of the welfare state within the capitalist mode of production. In this mode, children and youth were becoming a labour force both through the learning of technical skills and expertise that would later be needed for entering the labour market and also through the acceptance of ideas that legitimize the mode of production and its functioning as a natural, rational and necessary process. However, today it seems that the relationship between the state and the economy, which is actuality a relationship between politics and the economy in general, has become much more “flexible”. The contemporary reforms bring to the forefront the effects of this seeming flexibility, which has succeeded even in entering the time-space of school.
But the dissolution of clearly defined relations and borders between the state and the economy, with the effects of the latter on the educational field, nevertheless does not remain intangible. They are a part of a broader neoliberal project. This project struck roots (as if by coincidence) in the private University of Chicago, with its crucial victory at the moment when economic recipes got adopted by supranational and state institutions. It was in the light of this neoliberal hegemony, at the turn of the millennium that the European Union had to recognize “the decline of productivity in the European economy” as the central social, political and economic problem. In 2000, the European Union adopted ‘Lisbon strategy’, whose main goal was to ensure that by 2010 the EU will become “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010.” The same year saw the adoption of a ‘Memorandum for Lifelong Learning’, which was the key guide for realizing Lisbon strategy not only in the field of upbringing and education, but also, at least indirectly, in other fields. The concept of ‘lifelong learning’ supposedly introduced a new understanding of the learning process. In contrast to the rigid school time-space framed between the ringing of bells and school benches opens the possibility for a “dimension of continuity ‘from the cradle to the grave’”. “The ‘lifewide’ dimension brings the complementarity of formal, non-formal and informal learning into sharper focus. It reminds us that useful and enjoyable learning can and does take place in the family, in leisure time, in community life and in daily worklife”. A goal of this type of learning should be the upbringing of “all-round personalities”, who will acquire competence and be able to solve the ‘real problems’ that one faces in life.
Educational goals set this high might bring to mind – with a grain of malice – a slightly caricatured image of the faith of the European educational system as portrayed in Rousseau's famous educational novel Émil: “God makes all things good. Man meddles with them and they become evil.” We could also evoke Flaubert's novel Bouvard and Pécuchet, where our unfortunate heroes pile up new skills in each chapter only to face a ridiculous failure when putting them into practice. As if this failure wanted to confirm the Rousseau’s introductory sentence in its totality. Although the novel remained unfinished, it seems rather adequate that it concludes with the chapter on upbringing. Finally we should remember Freud's conclusion that education (besides analysis and government) is simply an impossible profession.
It seems as if the current reforms completely ignore the fact that educational goals do not exhaust the problem of school, as well as the fact that school as such – inevitably linked with the pretentions of education – is specifically marked by a certain immanent impossibility. Where one expects to find a cogent consideration of the school problematic, the concept of lifelong learning appears as a “ready-made” answer that blocks it. And yet, is this concept – seen at the same time as a novelty and also as something most natural and necessary – not suspiciously trivial? Who would want to disavow the fact that in one way or another we learn all our lives? Who would want to argue against the central task of the school being to prepare us for ‘real’ life? With all seriousness we could therefore pose the following question: does this mean that one should classify the practice of anal sex, experience of the death of a friend, integrals and syntax under the umbrella of the “Common house of all education and learning”? How does this perspective transform the concept of knowledge itself? It seems that nowadays, from the viewpoint of lifelong learning, Enlightenment’s idea(l) of the right to education is being transformed more and more to merely an imperative for qualifications.
Moreover, it is obvious how the concept of ‘lifelong learning’ serves as an euphemism for an apparent and violent domination of education by the neoliberal logic of free market and the celebration of economic progress. It is not a coincidence that already before the ‘Memorandum on Life-long Learning’, the Organisation of economic cooperation and development (OECD) flirted with this concept. To the obvious reproach that education should not only be a hand-maid to economy, one can always answer: it is not all about the economic progress, this kind of education also offers an all-rounded growth of the individual, prepares him to face the real problems of life, and assures him his fundamental right to learn. But what are these ‘real problems’ and what kind of life faces us with them? Where does this appeal that demands the answer of lifelong learning come from?
It is true that the effects of neoliberal practices are felt in all fields, not only the field of education. To that extent, it is inevitable as a part of a general process. But precisely because of this, one has to defend the autonomy of the school even more than ever. Today it looks as if the school is being degraded from its role as the “bearer of knowledge” to only an ‘elementary qualification’. In this respect, it is quite an intimidating and contradictory tendency that the time of the school itself (in old Greek scholé means free time) is transformed into a commodity, which can be bought for a price as any other commodity on the market. It is thus considered as human capital or knowledge that can be economically valorised. Whenever there remains some time, which cannot be classified as useful for life and work, it is then immediately perceived as a pure waste of time, the waste that does not deserve a place in the knowledge society. It is difficult to omit the (involuntary?) allusion of proximity between the merchant and teacher; in their time they both seemed to have the role of the sellers of divine commodity. If a merchant sells time, that is he lends at interest, then the teacher sells knowledge, that is, education. Can we then think of School as enterprise, wherein one invests time?
Workers'-Punks' University has from its very start participated in inventing an alternative form of education. This year it wants to theoretically address its own practice – and in that way join the struggles against neoliberal reforms and struggles for new forms of solidarity, inclusive politics, free thinking and education. In the times when free time is a place of investment and recuperation, we invite you towards the waste of time, to a wasteful rethinking of school today.
The lectures take place in Gromka Club in Metelkova City from November 2009 till May 2010 each Thursday at 18.00.
NASVIDENJE V NASLEDNJI REVOLUCIJI!
13. letnik Delavsko-punkerske univerze predstavlja:
Cikel dvajsetih predavanj na temo:
Šola kot ideološki aparat ekonomije
Študijski bralni seminar Hegel: filozofija zgodovine
Študijski bralni seminar Spinoza - škandal filozofije
Študijski bralni seminar Azijski produkcijski način
Študijski bralni seminar Transformacije v umetnosti, 2. letnik
Študijski bralni seminar Transfer
Študijski bralni seminar Štetje
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» 12. letnik: NEUMNOST
» 11. letnik: TOTALITARIZEM
» 10. letnik: O GREHU
» 9. letnik: POLITIČNA EKOLOGIJA
» 8. letnik: POSTFORDIZEM
» 7. letnik: LJUBEZEN IN POLITIKA
NASVIDENJE V NASLEDNJI REVOLUCIJI!