Page, text and screen in the university: Revisiting the Illich hypothesis

Educational Philosophy and Theory 50 (1):49-60 (2018)
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Abstract

In the age of web 2.0, the university is constantly challenged to re-adapt its ‘old-fashioned’ pedagogies to the new possibilities opened up by digital technologies. This article proposes a rethinking of the relation between university and (digital) technologies by focusing not on how technologies function in the university, but on their constituting a meta-condition for the existence of the university pedagogy of inquiry. Following Ivan Illich’s idea that textual technologies played a crucial role in the inception of the university, we will first show the structural similarities between university thinking and the text as a profanation of the book. Secondly, we describe university thinking as a type of critical thinking based on the materiality of the text-on-the-page, explaining why the text has been at the centre of university pedagogy since the beginning. In the third part, we show how Illich came to see the end of the culture of the text as a challenge for the university, by describing the new features of the text-as-code incompatible with the idea of reading as study. Finally, we challenge this pessimistic reading of Illich’s and end with a call for a profanatory pedagogy of digital technologies that could mirror the revolutionary thinking behind the mediaeval invention of the text.

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Lavinia Marin
Delft University of Technology

References found in this work

Nietzsche, Genealogy, History.Michel Foucault - 1978 - In John Richardson & Brian Leiter (eds.), Nietzsche. Oxford University Press. pp. (139-164).
Profanations.Giorgio Agamben - 2005 - Zone Books.

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