Education for the state of exception

Leszek Koczanowicz
University of Lower Silesia of the Association
for the Advancement of Education (DSWE TWP)

The point of departure of my presentation is the perspective on modernity developed by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. He claims that modernity reduces an activity of human beings to “bare life” stripping them of any traces of dignity and protection by law. The other side of the same process is permanent “state of exception” that is a characteristic feature of contemporary politics. If this diagnosis is valid, and unfortunately a lot of current politics confirms it, we should re-think our educational strategy. Perhaps education should not be about the appropriation of positive ideals but rather about the preparation for the worst. Educators would be obliged to provide those in their charge with instruments for the resistance to this threat. For this reason it is necessary to discuss extensively in the educational theory the aims and means of confrontation with the contemporary politics and the ways of changing it.

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