2011 Abstracts Stage 3

The Means-End Mindset of Modernity and Beyond: How Capitalism is devaluing the Education System

Jack Samler, 2011, Stage 3

This project serves to assess the contemporary situation that education finds itself in within our Western Capitalistic society, before analysing the makeup of Capitalism itself. This will provide the platform for an attack on the system, where arguments will made critiquing Capitalism’s inherent characteristics; the characteristics that quash out independent thought, rational judgement and wisdom in favour of ticking boxes and tangible exam results. Education’s value as a nurturer has been lost: it has morphed into a tool for gain rather than an intrinsic virtue that has value in and of itself. The subtle and deep-rooted power systems that Capitalism makes inevitable are the cause of this.

‘Browne Report’ Lord Browne’s report on Higher Education will provide the context for this project. The report is indicative of attitudes towards education as a means, rather than an end in itself.

Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’ The father of communism will be used to outline the inherent flaws of Capitalism in terms of private property and the free market and how these affect education.

Gadamer’s ‘Treatment and Dialogue’ This hermeneutical thinker’s arguments regarding the nature of intelligence will be assessed and made relevant to the situation that education finds itself in today. Contemporarily, our education system marginalizes traditional concepts of wisdom so that independent thought becomes devalued.

Foucault’s ‘Discipline and Punish’ The climax of this critique will come with Foucault and his advocacy that, though less obvious, brutal and violent than the past, we are subject to deep-rooted power systems within the West that indirectly control our desires and actions. These affirmations will be used to highlight education’s impartiality – and the deeper consequences the way we are taught has on society as a whole.

Today, we are a docile nation with a docile mind-set. This needs to stop: education is the cause; education is the cure.

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