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Between Postmodernism and Anti-Modernism: The Predicament of Educational Studies

Nigel Blake
British Journal of Educational Studies
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 42-65
DOI: 10.2307/3121703
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3121703
Page Count: 24
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Between Postmodernism and Anti-Modernism: The Predicament of Educational Studies
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Abstract

The paper highlights the urgent and radical questions and problems which postmodernism poses for educational studies in general, and the philosophy of education in particular. First, it outlines and interrelates the legacies of modernism in social and cultural theory. Next, it describes the reactionary anti-modernism of the Right, and contrasts this with traditionalism. It is argued that the current political and economic context of education is largely anti-modernist, not traditionalist. The stirrings of radical doubts about modernism are described and contrasted with the antimodernism of the Right. A salient theme to this point is the variety of conceptions of the relationship between knowledge and power. Mature postmodernism is characterised centrally in terms of a reconceptualisation of that relationship. The metamorphosis of the concept of the self in postmodernism is described and related to new problems about ethics and a newly emerging importance for the aesthetic. Finally, the paper argues that while the fundamental issues for philosophy of education are unchanged - problems about instrumentalism and various issues of autonomy - these are radically recast in postmodernism, and present new difficulties.

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