2010 Abstracts Stage 3

“I Just Want to Climb Rocks. Is That too much to Ask?”

Can my life be defined by a sport?

“Climbing is a rich enough experience that it can be a valid focus for your life…. you can say I’m a rock climber and that, if anybody understands it, has as much value as anything else you can spend a day doing.”-Todd Skinner.

Project Object and Aims
The object I have chosen for my project is the way in which I centre my life around rock climbing.
In contemporary society, life tends to be primarily focused on one’s job. Activities such as climbing are defined as pastimes. My project aims to ascertain whether I can, in contemporary society, define myself by my sport. This is relevant to a wide audience, since, in my conclusions, climbing can be replaced with whatever one wishes to orient oneself towards.

The key thinkers I will investigate in my work are:

Manuel Castells who writes explicitly on the idea of “resistance” and “project” identities as a means of constructing real identity

Michel Foucault who formulates a theory of power which affects choosing an identity in contemporary society.

Gianni Vattimo advances the position of weak nihilism as a means of viewing a society which has a plurality of worldviews.

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.