2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Caught Among Worlds. Islam and its Identity in the West

Object: Islam in the West. Concepts: Liberalism, Pluralism, Postmodernism. Thinkers: Bell, Vattimo, Habermas. Main Objective: This project will critically examine the normative relationship between Islam and the West in order to explore the metaphysical divide which purports to propel the two world-views into a so-called “clash of civilisations”. Intended Knowledge Outcomes:By engaging in this project, I intend to accomplish four objectives: Firstly, I seek to research the recent emergence of Islam in the West as a produce of post-colonial migration. Secondly, I aim to become acquainted with the motivations for its growing influence among the “disenchanted” Muslim communities within the West. As a third objective, I plan to use the thought of Daniel Bell, Gianni Vattimo, and Jurgen Habermas to investigate the arguments for and against liberalism, pluralism, and postmodernism. Finally, I wish to demonstrate the connection between the philosophical debate over postmodernism and the contemporary debate on Islam and its place within the Western liberal model.

2006 Abstracts Stage 3

Why has Education become the Cornerstone of Today’s Society?

My Territory is the broad subject of education. To be more precise I shall be documenting the way education has developed itself to thrive in a knowledge economy. I shall be looking at the way it had affected and been affected by the economy, the government and the public since the 1950s. My Philosophy shall be Daniel Bell’s work on the ‘Post-Industrial Society,’ which I shall be using in comparison with Manuel Castells’ ‘Post-Information Society.’ My Aim is to understand why education has become the cornerstone of today’s society; it has become the locus for equal opportunities; it had become essential if one is to be successful; and it has become the foundation of our economy. With reference to Bell and Castells I wish to discover why education is now so important for the individual, the politics, and for the economy; and how it got to this stage. My Method shall be to first examine Bell’s forecast on the post-industrial society, by looking at ‘The Coming of the Post-Industrial Society,’ which he wrote in 1973. Then progress onto a thorough examination of my territory which shall be split into three; (i) Economy and education: I shall be looking at how globalization is affected by/ affects education by looking at Colin Leys’ ‘Market Driven Politics,’ and Alison Wolf’s ‘Does Education Matter.’ (ii) Politics and Education: I shall be researching every political Act that has been passed since the 1950s and discussing its importance. (iii) Attitudes of the Individual: understanding why there has been such an increase in higher and adult education as well as understanding the lengths parents will go to in order to ensure their child gets a top quality education. I shall then go on to revisit Bell so I can examine whether his forecast can be reinforced by my findings, and compare his work with that of Castells.