The Problem of Freedom in Postmodern Education

The Problem of Freedom in Postmodern Education

The Problem of Freedom in Postmodern Education

The Problem of Freedom in Postmodern Education

Synopsis

Postmodernism in the West and postsocialism in Eastern Europe have deep features in common as they both challenge the foundations of the world order. They create a new educational situation where basic issues of subjectivity, identity, human freedom, and social agency need to be reevaluated and reconstructed. This situation affects both sides of the former Iron Curtain since East and West served as each other's Other in terms of identity formation. This book deals with the problem of freedom and identity in educational theories as they are reinterpreted in the critical perspective of postmodern social theory and postsocialist political openness. Issues of freedom and identity are considered as dialectically related to those of power and emancipation. This book sketches a metatheoretical perspective on emancipatory education in a broad, trans-cultural context appropriate to the new global community.

Excerpt

Postmodernism is no longer fashionable. in fact, in some theoretical quarters it is seen as an outright reactionary plunge into the abyss of either a playful aesthetic or a free-floating textuality. For the most part, the debate about the meaning and significance of postmodern discourses has been waged primarily among intellectuals from the Western-style democracies. As invigorating as this debate has been, there has been a curious absence of discussion regarding the relevance of postmodern social criticism for understanding the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This is all the more interesting since such a collapse appears to further the notion that we are living in a world in which the conditions of social life are in a stage of a fundamental transformation, fragmentation, and destabilization. the new world order that is emerging is being reconstructed between and outside of old borders, and the global space that is being configured can no longer be defined through modernist categories.

In this book Tomasz Szkudlarek has assumed the role of a border intellectual travelling between the rapidly disintegrating borders of the Soviet-dominated Polish state and its traditional other, the United States. Recognizing that as a border crosser, he is rewriting . . .

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