Individualism and Community: Education and Social Policy in the Postmodern Condition

Individualism and Community: Education and Social Policy in the Postmodern Condition

Individualism and Community: Education and Social Policy in the Postmodern Condition

Individualism and Community: Education and Social Policy in the Postmodern Condition

Synopsis

Examining, in the widest sense, the changes in political philosophy that have occurred in Western capitalist states since the 1980s, this book focuses on the introduction of neo-liberal principles in the combined area of social and education policy.

Excerpt

The notion of community has exercised an appeal as a social ideal to historians, philosophers and sociologists since the times of our Greek forefathers. Recently, however, the notion has figured prominently in public policy discourse. Its use as a philosophical basis for programmes and policies in broad areas of social policy since the 1950s has so proliferated that few major policy areas remain untouched by its influence. Community based policies and programmes abound throughout the western world in the areas of health, education, welfare and justice. As such the ‘move’ to community represents one of the more significant theoretical and practical developments of social policy to emerge during the post-war era.

We raise the theoretical suggestion that just as Michel Foucault, the late French iconoclast philosopher-historian, claims that human beings have been transformed into subjects as an effect of the discourses and practices of the human or social sciences in their development since the early nineteenth century, so too are human beings presently being transformed into ‘community subjects’ as a result of the practices and practical effects of the discourses of the policy sciences in their rapid development since World War II.

If this broad hypothesis has but a measure of truth, it deserves close examination. the philosophical differences between different conceptions of ‘community’ require investigation as do the official reasons which serve as a basis for advocating the move to community. It is most important that policy analysts, practitioners and those who are responsible for the implementation of social policies and programmes are aware of the social control functions exercised in the name of ‘community’ as it figures in the broad sweep of social policy in the western world.

The purpose of this chapter is to focus on conceptions of community embedded in major paradigms of social policy thereby providing insight into the design and evaluation of policies and programmes. By raising Foucault-type questions concerning the exercise of power in the name of community we problematize the move towards community as a broad based response to the alleged crisis of the Welfare State. We outline Foucault’s reasons for wanting to suspend the liberal normative framework of autonomy, rights, and

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.