Advertisement

Symbolic Evil and the Schooling System

  • Cathryn van KesselEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures book series (PSEF)

Abstract

According to Jean Baudrillard, evil cannot be reduced to anything specific; rather, it is omnipresent. He calls this force Symbolic Evil in order to differentiate it from the common conception of moral evil. Symbolic Evil fuels metamorphosis and thus can be seen positively and negatively in great revolutionaries who tap into evil as the energy of challenge, defiance, creativity, and renewal. This chapter examines this concept in the context of Canadian and U.S. systems of schooling at the classroom, school, district, and national levels, noting the power of Symbolic Evil to help us redefine educational concerns like student “success.”

References

  1. Abdi, A. A., & Ellis, L. (2007). Education and Zambia’s democratic development: Reconstructing “something” from the predatory project of neoliberal globalization. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 53(3), 287–301.Google Scholar
  2. Archer, E., Chetty, Y. B., & Prinsloo, P. (2014). Benchmarking the habits and behaviours of successful students: A case study of academic-business collaboration. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(1), 62–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bataille, G. (1988). The accursed share: An essay on general economy. New York, NY: Zone Books. (Original work published in 1949)Google Scholar
  4. Baudrillard, J. (1983). Simulations (P. Foss, P. Patton, & P. Beitchman, Trans.). New York, NY: Semiotext(e).Google Scholar
  5. Baudrillard, J. (1993). The transparency of evil (J. Benedict, Trans.). London, UK: Verso. (Original work published in 1990)Google Scholar
  6. Baudrillard, J. (1998). When Bataille attacked the metaphysical principle of economy. In F. Botting & S. Wilson (Eds.), Bataille: A critical reader (pp. 191–195). Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  7. Baudrillard, J. (2005). The intelligence of evil or the lucidity pact (C. Turner, Trans.). Oxford, UK: Berg. (Original work published in 2004)Google Scholar
  8. Biesta, G. (2010). Good education in an age of measurement: Ethics, politics, democracy. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.Google Scholar
  9. Boldt-Irons, L. (2001). Bataille and Baudrillard: From a general economy to the transparency of evil. Angelaki, 6(2), 79–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH Research. (2016). A compass towards a just and harmonious society: 2015 GNH Survey Report. Thimphu, Bhutan: Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH Research. Retrieved from http://www.grossnationalhappiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Final-GNH-Report-jp-21.3.17-ilovepdf-compressed.pdf.
  11. DeLuca, C., Godden, L., Hutchinson, N. L., & Versnel, J. (2015). Preparing at-risk youth for a changing world: Revisiting a person-in-context model for transition to employment. Educational Research, 57(2), 182–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DeLuca, C., Hutchinson, N. L, deLugt, J. S., Beyer, W., Thornton, A., Versnel, J., … Munby, H. (2010). Learning in the workplace: Fostering resilience in disengaged youth. Work, 36, 305–319.Google Scholar
  13. Frankl, V. (1986). The doctor and the soul (R. Winston & C. Winston, Trans.). New York, NY: Vintage.Google Scholar
  14. Kant, I. (1838). Religion within the boundary of pure reason (J. W. Semple, Trans.). Edinburgh, Scotland: Thomas Clark. (Original work published in 1793)Google Scholar
  15. Klein, N. (2000). No logo: Taking aim at the brand bullies. Toronto, ON: Vintage.Google Scholar
  16. Kline, K. (2016). Baudrillard, youth, and American film. Lanham, MD: Lexington.Google Scholar
  17. Livni, E. (2018, September 16). Everyone hates postmodernism—But that doesn’t make it wrong. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1388555/everyone-hates-postmodernism-but-that-doesnt-make-it-false/.
  18. Merrin, W. (2007, March 8). Jean Baudrillard: 1929–2007. Evatt Foundation. Retrieved from http://evatt.org.au/news/jean-baudrillard-1929-2007.html.
  19. New Economics Foundation. (2014). About the happy planet index. Retrieved from http://www.happyplanetindex.org/about/.
  20. Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI). (n.d.). Bhutan’s gross national happiness index. OPHI. Retrieved from https://ophi.org.uk/policy/national-policy/gross-national-happiness-index/.
  21. Pacheco, G., & Dye, J. (2013). Estimating the cost of youth disengagement in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 38(2), 47–63.Google Scholar
  22. Pawlett, W. (2007). Jean Baudrillard: Against banality. London, UK: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pawlett, W. (2014). Baudrillard’s duality: Manichaeism and the principle of evil. International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, 11(1). Retrieved from http://www2.ubishops.ca/baudrillardstudies/vol11_1/v11-1-pawlett.html.
  24. Pinar, W. F. (2009). The worldliness of a cosmopolitan education. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Smith, J. (2014). Overhauling everything schools teach kids. Albertaviews, 17(7), 30–34.Google Scholar
  26. van Kessel, C. (2016). The transparency of evil in The Leftovers and its implications for student (dis)engagement. Educational Studies, 52(1), 51–67. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131946.2015.1120206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. van Kessel, C., & Crowley, R. M. (2017). Villainification and evil in social studies education. Theory & Research in Social Education, 95, 427–455. https://doi.org/10.1080/00933104.2017.1285734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. van Kessel, C., & Kline, K. (2019). “If you can’t tell, does it matter?”: Westworld, the murder of the real, and 21st century schooling. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/15505170.2018.1542358.
  29. Wachowski, L., & Wachowski, L. (Directors) (1999). The matrix [motion picture]. Burbank, CA: Warner.Google Scholar
  30. Wark, M. (2014, April 30). Is this still capitalism? Public Seminar Commons, 1(2). Retrieved from http://www.publicseminar.org/2014/04/is-this-still-capitalism/#.VBUFly5dWMV.
  31. Williams, B. (1973). The Makropulos case: Reflections on the tedium of immortality. In B. Williams (Ed.), Problems of the self (pp. 82–100). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Woodson, A. N. (2016). We’re just ordinary people: Messianic master narratives and Black youths’ civic agency. Theory & Research in Social Education, 44, 184–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations