Autonomy in education: implications for the institution and the subject.
MetadataShow full item record
Like many other philosophers and educationalists, Durkheim and Habermas understand education to have a political function. Education is understood as a means to assure socioZpolitical stability and to secure collective aspirations. Education must serve a collective interest and in this way it also serves the interest of the individual. Durkheim argues that science must be the arbiter of the educational function, providing an objective evaluation of the proper means and ends for education. In the view of both Durkheim and Habermas, the student’s capacity for an autonomous existence within society will depend on the internalisation of the moral values and interests of that society. However, Heidegger’s writings on being and time reveal tensions between the ideas of collective and authentic existence. In addition, Foucault has shown that ‘sciences’ like psychology and the social sciences have a different foundation and function from that of natural sciences like physics and biology, because the former are normative and inextricable from a moral and political position. This thesis questions the role that the human and social sciences have come to play within modern education. Foucault understood education to be a disciplinary function that constitutes a form of social control. Philosophically, this thesis explores what socialisation involves for the student and asks can education function as a policing apparatus and equally serve the interests of all its students. In particular, it looks at the socialisation of those whose bodies and lives apparently most contradict the collective interest, norms and dominant aesthetic judgements. Through Deleuze and Foucault it will argue that socialisation is an indoctrinatory function that needs to be distinguished from education. If one imagines a space dedicated to the inculcation of values and beliefs, a space that suggests a threat in order to eradicate the unpredictability entailed in thinking, a space that rewards agreement and punishes resistance, is this really a space dedicated to education? Through MerleauZPonty, Heidegger, Hengehold and Foucault, this thesis aims to show how education is a distinct practice from socialisation. It questions whether it really is educational or even beneficial for those who are most marginalised within a society to be exposed to socialisation techniques that aim for that population to internalise and ‘own’ values and beliefs often espoused in the interest of those who benefit most from a social ordering, rather than to have an experience of genuine education.