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Education, Schooling, Derrida’s Marx and Democracy: Some Fundamental Questions

Abstract

Beginning with a reconsideration of what the school is and has been, this paper explores the idea of the school to come. Emphasizing the governmental role of education in modernity, I offer a line of thinking that calls into question the assumption of both the school and education as possible conduits for either democracy or social justice. Drawing on Derrida’s spectral ontology I argue that any automatic correlation of education with democracy is misguided: especially within redemptive discourses that seek to liberate education from its present enclosure. This rereading of the field of education in the light of an account of the fundamental ontology of its key institution problematizes all rhetorics of education as social salvation. Education, it proposes, cannot be conceived as the ideal soul of a corrupted or as yet defective body, the school. Education—having taken on the character of an ontotheological principle—has become a governmental instrument as much as its specific institutions. This ontological condition can be understood within various accounts of the nature of contemporaneity. This paper considers the monstrous proposal that education be abandoned as the grounds for social, ethical and cultural redemption. The good news is that this abandonment opens the possibility for thinking beyond education, a beyond that is also beyond the strictures of instrumental rationality.

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Peim, N. Education, Schooling, Derrida’s Marx and Democracy: Some Fundamental Questions. Stud Philos Educ 32, 171–187 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11217-012-9300-0

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Keywords

  • Derrida
  • Spectrality
  • Foucault
  • Discipline
  • Governmentality
  • Democracy
  • Deconstruction
  • Schooling
  • Education