Reading Lifelong Learning Through a Postmodern Lens
In this chapter I will put lifelong learning as discursive policy and practice under a postmodern lens, even whilst recognizing from the outset that there is no such single lens but rather a multiplicity. Nonetheless certain common themes can be detected and these will hopefully emerge in the course of examining lifelong learning in this way.
For my reading, I will draw upon two philosophers who perhaps more than any others exemplify the postmodern turn in scholarly discourses and do so in perhaps the most extreme form. The first is Baudrillard and I will look at his notions of simulation and hyper-reality to read lifelong learning in the context of a society of signs where lifelong learning is located in lifestyle practices based on the consumption of signs. The second is Deleuze with his notions of strata and rhizomes. Lifelong learning can be read both as being trapped in the repressive and homogenizing strata of contemporary capitalism whilst also being a rhizomatic practice that is lifewide as well as lifelong, surfacing in a variety of spaces and entwined in other practices.
My reading will be something of an extreme reading but deliberately so, in order to draw out the philosophical underpinnings of the postmodern and then through that to critique some of the assumptions that undergird dominant understandings of lifelong learning.
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