Studies in Philosophy and Education 26 (3):237-252 (2007)

The paper assumes that education is part of the process of discursive construction of society. The theoretical framework on which this argument is based includes Ernesto Laclau’s theory of the “ontological impossibility and political necessity of society”, and the role discourse and empty signifiers play in the establishment of political identities. Laclau’s theory is supplemented here by ideas of Derrida, Lacan, Žižek and Marx, and by other traits in contemporary semiotics that relate to the notion of “the void” in semantic systems. My claim is that empty signifiers, crucial to the production of the totality of society, are discursively produced, among others, in pedagogical debates. This is illustrated by one historical example, which gives ground for more contemporary analyses, and on the basis of the present economic discourse of educating and the idea of “knowledge society”. The main conclusion is that education, in contemporary discourse of learning, becomes a neurotic symptom of the lack of overt domination in social relations.
Keywords Education  Discourse  Empty signifier  Politics  Knowledge society  Economy
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DOI 10.1007/s11217-007-9033-7
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References found in this work BETA

On Populist Reason.Ernesto Laclau - 2006 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (4):832-835.

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