The Politics of Nonformal Education in Latin America

By Carlos Alberto Torres | Go to book overview

2
THE STATE, EDUCATIONAL POLICY, AND THE POPULAR SECTORS IN LATIN AMERICA

In this chapter I will discuss some of the theoretical connections between the capitalist state and education. As a point of departure an effort will be made to synthesize in four major hypotheses the Gramscian conception of the relations between the state and education. With his theoretical explorations of education, culture, and superstructures in general, Gramsci provides an obligatory reference point for my analysis. Along with this interpretive synthesis of Gramsci, I propose to make some brief critical comments regarding the principal distortion of Gramscian theory, the approach of Louis Althusser.

In the second section, and on the basis of the preceding critical discussion, I will attempt to indicate in summary form some of the theoretical characteristics of the capitalist state as it relates to an investigation of the formulation of public policy in education. The final section will provide some questions for establishing an agenda of research on the state and educational policy in Latin America.

A final observation must be made. For distinct epistemological and theoretical reasons, which I hope will emerge in the text, I will try to utilize as an immediate referent of the analysis the conflictual demand for education that the popular sectors have increasingly been making in Latin American societies. Nevertheless, the manifestations, modalities, and determinants of this demand, the role of education in the strategies of survival of the popular sectors, and the repercussions at the level of civil and political society will not be analyzed here.


THE CAPITALIST STATE, HEGEMONY, AND EDUCATION

The contribution of Gramsci to the study of the relations between the state and education can be synthesized in four major hypotheses. First, the relations of hegemony in a capitalist state may be understood as educational relations, even

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