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Thinking Again: Education After Postmodernism

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The 'postmodern condition,' in which instrumentalism usurps all other considerations, has produced a kind of intellectual paralysis in the world of education. It is difficult to take issue with such shibboleths of our time as 'standards', 'effectiveness' or 'quality', or the transmission of a nation's 'heritage', yet many people sense that important values are being lost as the education systems of the developed world increasingly devote themselves to managerialism and 'performativity', the quest for efficiency ...

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Overview

The 'postmodern condition,' in which instrumentalism usurps all other considerations, has produced a kind of intellectual paralysis in the world of education. It is difficult to take issue with such shibboleths of our time as 'standards', 'effectiveness' or 'quality', or the transmission of a nation's 'heritage', yet many people sense that important values are being lost as the education systems of the developed world increasingly devote themselves to managerialism and 'performativity', the quest for efficiency and effectiveness that can be quantified.

This book shows how a sustained and telling critique of current educational policy and practice can be developed from the writings of such postmodern thinkers as Lyotard, Derrida, Foucault, and Lacan. These thinkers show us new directions, making what has become over-familiar in education seem strange, and they shake us out of established ways of thinking and writing. The book reveals how very different certain aspects of education—for instance, literacy, moral education (in the home as well as the school), curriculum policy and planning—look in the light of these ideas. The book makes many of the central ideas of postmodern theory accessible by demonstrating their relevance to familiar aspects of the practice of education.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Offers no advice, prescriptions, or ready solutions to practical problems concerning education at the end of the 20th century. Argues rather that postmodernism has created a paralysis of thought, and educators need to learn a different way to go about thinking. Explores how the standard postmodern thinkers Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Michel Foucault change the subject and make the familiar look strange. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

NIGEL BLAKE is Lecturer in Educational Technology at The Open University, England.

PAUL SMEYERS is Professor, Department of Educational Sciences, at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

RICHARD SMITH is Senior Lecturer, School of Education, at the University of Durham, England, and is editor of the Journal of Philosophy of Education.

PAUL STANDISH is Lecturer in Education at the University of Dundee, Scotland.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Acknowledgments
Retrospect 1
1 Poststructuralism and the Spectre of Relativism 7
2 Foundations Demolished, Sovereigns Deposed: The New Politics of Knowledge 21
3 The Ascription of Identity 35
4 Literacy Under the Microscope 47
5 Shifting, Shifted, ... Shattered: The Ethical Self 59
6 Giving Someone a Lesson 81
7 Telling Stories Out of School 91
8 The Responsibility of Desire 111
9 Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags 131
10 Learning by Heart 145
11 The Learning Pharmacy 157
12 Reading Education 175
Prospect 185
References 191
Author Index 197
Subject Index 199
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