We are condemned to learn: Higher education as a learning society.
Level 3 (6).
As higher education faces challenges to adapt to changing social, political, and
labour-force contexts this is an opportune time to examine these influences. Demands
come from the economy, mediated by the neo-liberal state, to reform, attend to the
interests of the job market, become less dependent on the state and have more
inclusive access policies. The language and values of the economy insert themselves
into the discourse, management and pedagogic practices of the university. The ideas
of Jürgen Habermas are useful for understanding this dynamic and for plotting a way
forward. His ideas on the relationship between the state, economy and civil society
are utilised, as are his ideas on colonisation of the lifeworld, the demise of the public
sphere and his ‘Theory of Communicative Action’. This paper moves towards
rethinking the aims of higher education as a community of rational and democratic
discourses within which democracy is learned and practised. It redefines democracy
(and higher education) as a learning society.
||Habermas, democracy, higher education
||Social Sciences > Adult & Community Education
Dr Ted Fleming
||08 Oct 2008 10:48
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||Dublin Institute of Technology
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