How technocrats hijacked antipedagogy

Kolakowski, Marcin M. (2012) How technocrats hijacked antipedagogy. School of Architecture, University of Lincoln.

How Technocrats Hijacked Antipedagogy
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Visions for Architectural Education – Unpublished voice in internal departmental discussion about forms of education [Action Research Contribution]

Based on Dissertation Dr Marcin Mateusz Kołakowski (Ph.D, inż. arch., Dipl, -Ing)
Supervisor : Dr. Sarah Amsler

University of Lincoln: February 2013

Introduction – barking up the wrong authority
Zygmunt Bauman (2007) in his book Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty offers a deep insight into changes of the post-industrial, hyper capitalist, free-market culture. During the whole 20th century – as Bauman observed – we were afraid that the danger to our society lurks from one or another kind of authoritarian, totalitarian political system. During the century, the futurist visions envisaged this gloomy dystopian reality either in form of Orwellian 1984 world or in the shape of Huxleyan ‘Brave New World’. According to Bauman, the present time is surprisingly different. Most of our problems, dangers and anxieties come unexpectedly from the opposite direction. None of the great totalitarian authorities of technologically-developed part of the world wants to take our freedom away; to the contrary, we have no choice but to take the freedom, which as Baumann notes, comes with a psychological burden. In consumerism, deregulated, laissez-faire, individualistic culture, it is not the case that public authorities want to invade our private lives but just opposite – the public sphere is invaded by the private sphere. We pay more attention to private lives of politicians, celebrities and even individuals in talk shows than global politics and social issues. Bauman calls it ‘liquid modernity’, where everything not necessarily ‘wants to be’ but ‘has to be’ incohesive, light, ever-changing, non-committed – liquid. Foucault's panopticon became too expensive – says Bauman – today no one wants to put us to any prison; instead we have to lock ourselves there, self-guard and pay for renting the prison cell. No one forces us in any direction, we have to self-direct. Yet the new world order, just like the old, operates beyond our reach. There is, however, an important twist: we cannot make demands because it has no return address; there are no offices, no one to talk to, it operates outside our borders, with only a logo, a passive email box and recorded phone messages.
Although Bauman did not discuss ‘learning’ as such, his argument could help us to understand the peculiar situation in which education theory found itself today.
Western pedagogical philosophy has gone a long way since the time of the so called black pedagogy of Sulzer (1784) quoted at the beginning of this essay to today’s antiauthoritarian theories of critical pedagogy such as Illitch, Kincheloe or Paulo Freire. Something that was once subversive and revolutionary is today often applauded by the official bodies shaping educational policy which are more than happy to quote what is supposedly Einstein’s thoughts about letting students free – ‘not teaching them’ but offering them ‘conditions’ instead of the knowledge. Isn’t this a success of humanity over bureaucracy? It seems hard to argue against these ideas, but why is it that as a teacher much too often have I received emails like the third quotation opening this essay?
In the first part of this essay I would like to look at how the idea of ‘renegotiating power in the classroom with students’ developed historically. I would like to show that even if some of the current educational policies do indeed refer to this antiauthoritarian tradition which has been developing for over a hundred years, these ideas have been highjacked – they have been decontextualized from their initial intention, they now miss their crucial elements or were cherry picked to serve a different purpose altogether. Secondly – as Baumann pointed out – the antiauthoritarian theory started to be less relevant than anticipated and new problems of liquid times are waiting to be challenged by new theories and new practice.
In the second part of the essay, I will analyze the debate which is now present in architectural education between concerning intelligent base teaching (IBD) vs. narrative teaching. Fierce arguments from both sides show a situation where the authoritarian tradition, after becoming an established and accepted form of teaching establishment, now provokes doubts, discontent and pushes some groups of scholars towards alternative methods of teaching. This debate itself constitutes an interesting case study which shows a kind of crisis of antiauthoritarian thoughts, although it still does not show straightforward and convincing answers as to how to resolve the problem.
At the end of the essay I would like to outline some suggestions towards resolving the deadlock. The proposed strategy of ecological teaching will be based on personal experience in the course of architecture.

Keywords:Higher Education, Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education, Students as producers, Life Projects, Architecture, architectural education
Subjects:X Education > X990 Education not elsewhere classified
X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
X Education > X390 Academic studies in Education not elsewhere classified
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
X Education > X341 Academic studies in Further Education
X Education > X142 Training Teachers - Higher Education
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:18209
Deposited On:05 Aug 2015 13:17

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