The End/s of Education: Complexity and the Conundrum of the Inclusive Educational Curriculum

Deborah Osberg
University of Exeter
The conundrum of the inclusive educational curriculum is that the more inclusive a curriculum becomes in practice, the less inclusive it becomes in principle. In this paper we explain the conundrum and argue that its appearance is a product of what could be called ‘object-based’ logic which is underpinned by a deterministic understanding of causality. As long as we employ object-based logic to think about the curriculum, we cannot avoid asking what a curriculum is for. Whoever answers this question necessarily excludes other possibilities. We argue that a relational or ‘complex’ understanding of causality, which is shared by complexity theories, poststructural theories, deconstruction and Deweyan pragmatism, offers a way out of the conundrum by offering a different understanding of process and hence the guiding role of the curriculum in the educational process. In allowing the possibility of a guiding role for the curriculum, while dispensing with the need for a curricular ‘end’, complex logic can inform an understanding of curriculum which succeeds where humanistic education in its various forms has failed.
Keywords complexity  emergence  curriculum  inclusive education  relational logic
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