The Educational Needs of Erstwhile Humans: Identity Fluidity in a Post-Work World
Center for Advanced Study Levis Faculty Center--Room 210 919 W. Illinois Street
Modern state-provisioned education is based upon a moral premise of individuals’ serviceability. There is nothing inherently cynical about this premise. Yes there is the development of exploitable labor value in the Marxist sense, but there is also the potential for unfolding human capacity and talent. Yes, we are each assigned exchange values by capital (often via education credentials), but because of education’s inherent over-determination we are also rendered unpredictable and not reducible to our economic value-addedness. My literateness, for example, may render me functional as a corporate record keeper yet it also may activate a latent internal capacity for critique and creativity. Yet unprecedented levels of automation are ending this longstanding educational arrangement. As fewer and fewer of us are needed for the production of capitalist value, the longstanding rationale for public educational expenditure grows less and less compelling. This specter of uselessness and disposability is having deeper and more lasting effects on our self-understanding than is often realized and it pushes us beyond business-as-usual fine-tuning. Our industrial educational system’s ideological basis grows unsustainable.
David J. Blacker, an alumnus of the University of Illinois (Ph.D., Educational Policy Studies), is Professor of Philosophy of Education and Legal Studies at the University of Delaware (USA). He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including Democratic Education Stretched Thin: How Complexity Challenges a Liberal Ideal (SUNY) and Dying to Teach: The Educator’s Search for Immortality (Teachers College Press). His most recent book, The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame (Zero) has been widely reviewed and quoted, both in academic journals and in such publications as Salon, Inside Higher Education, Times Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, South China Morning Post, The Guardian, and The New York Times. Blacker is currently completing a book manuscript, tentatively titled The Identity Factory: Post-Productivism and Liquid Education.
Cosponsored by: Center for Advanced Study, Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures, Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics, Unit for Criticism
Professor of Philosophy of Education and Legal Studies Program, University of Delaware