Political Relationship and Narrative Knowledge: A Critical Analysis of School Authoritarianism

By Peter B. Armitage | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
The Ideological Domination and Emancipation of Educators

The critical social theory of Jürgen Habermas takes the view that Western rationality is dominated by an instrumental view of rationality derived from an understanding of knowledge in the natural sciences. His critical view opens up an alternative "moral-practical vision" of the state of Western culture and its "future prospects." It is relevant to this study as a framework, because I claim that the school process was dominated by an ideology of systems thinking and political domination and by the "scientizing of politics" to the exclusion of the practice of communicative interaction. I took this critical view from Habermas's theory. I claim that the situation was bureaucratized and Habermas explains the historical process of bureaucratization as one kind of reason, functionalist reason, which he claims is a false theory of reason focused on purposeful task rather than purposeful concept, which has dominated reason as communicative interaction. In the first section I narrate the development of Habermas's theory derived from a critique of politics and a new philosophy of history in which the past, present and future are continuous and unified. I then summarize his critical view of knowledge and an alternative perspective. I explain the historical development of systems domination in a narrative perspective and the bureaucratization of culture from a system and lifeworld perspective. I then explain Habermas's theory of distorted communication and his proposals for continuing the Western narrative in the future.


AN INTRODUCTION TO HABERMAS'S THEORY OF MODERNITY

Habermas's first major work was The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere ( 1991). His thesis claim was that the public sphere of speech

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