A Pedagogy of the Parasite

Studies in Philosophy and Education 40 (5):477-491 (2021)
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In the South Korean film, The Parasite, the underling family, in an act of desperation, uses deceptive means to infiltrate the rich family. The term parasite refers nominally to the underling family, and their efforts to befriend and inhabit the class territory and social hierarchy of the rich family. How can this be of use for education? To answer this, we ask: what can we learn from Parasite to inform contemporary philosophy of education? Primarily, this experimental piece written from different philosophical viewpoints, suggests that the images, narrative, and social context of the film cannot be read stereotypically. Using a blend of Deleuze and Stiegler ‘cinema-theory’, we present a heuristic perspective on the Parasite from three viewpoints: (1) South Korean society, and how a pedagogy of the parasite helps to understand the dynamics of contemporary philosophy of education in a global context. South Korea is uniquely placed at the cusp and threshold of deterritorializing Western capitalism, given its position next to the only in-tact communist state system; (2) The film shows how theorizing an exceptional notion of time contributes to the overall pedagogy of the parasite. Here, being a parasite is about waiting to attach oneself to a host, yet this waiting is an anxious, perceptive, adherent time, a reciprocal time, and one internally interconnected to that of the host; (3) The ethics of the parasite. The parasite chooses a host from a certain viewpoint before attaching itself and trying to be absorbed into the host. The pedagogy of the parasite suggests a unique ethical treatment of these assimilative processes and allows us to consider cinema as a parasitic means to shake the passive audience out of its stupor when bearing witness to the violence in the film and its own collusion in the trauma and reality of contemporary capitalism.



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Author Profiles

Joff Bradley
Teikyo University
Dave Cole
University of Cincinnati

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