Neither colonising nor abandoning the future: democratic education in an age of anticipation

Amsler, Sarah and Facer, Keri (2015) Neither colonising nor abandoning the future: democratic education in an age of anticipation. In: Anticipation (first international conference on), 5-7 November 2015, Trento, Italy.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Despite its marginalisation in social and political theory, education is a key site for the formation of anticipatory consciousness and the political construction of ‘the future’; indeed education has historically been understood precisely as a practice in which new kinds of subjects and social relations are cultivated as part of a wider process of bringing new futures into being. However, recent shifts in how we know future, changing systems of political and economic power and new forms of social action – particularly the emergence of both complexity theory and various ‘anticipatory regimes’ (Adams et al. 2009) – have troubled many of the ontological, epistemological and political assumptions underlying this historical consensus around education’s orientation to the future. The progressive framing of education as a site for the planned production of better futures, the conservative framing of education as a site for rational actors making choices to preserve knowable terrains, and critical and radical pedagogic strategies of identifying emergent and latent futures are all troubled by these new conditions. Arguably, the meaning of ‘the future’ in and for education that has emerged throughout the modern era is thrown up in the air, presenting new challenges in particular for those seeking to actualise the promise of education as a democratising activity. Our aim in this paper, therefore, is threefold: first, to consider how the idea of education as a better-future-making practice stands up in light of recent work in the complexity sciences and the politics of anticipatory regimes; second, to explore whether and how the anticipatory sensibilities that have historically underpinned democratic education can be recovered in this context; and third, to suggest that anticipatory regimes co-exist with alternative theorisations of human and ecological relations to the future which are more suitable for this task.

Keywords:democratic education, anticipation, anticipatory regimes, alternative education, neoliberalism, complexity
Subjects:L Social studies > L222 Democracy
X Education > X370 Academic studies in Education (across phases)
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
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ID Code:25550
Deposited On:06 Jan 2017 11:38

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