Learning and its discontents: Three theories of study and the figure of the studier

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-14
Identifier: 
etd20004
Keywords: 
Potentiality
Agamben
Bartleby
Zizek
Event
Emancipation
Abstract: 

This thesis discusses alternatives to educational discourses that promote educational growth, self-actualization and the accumulation of knowledge that is observable and measurable. These learning discourses are evident in talking about the people we teach as learners, to schools as places of learning, to teachers as facilitators and to the curriculum as learning outcomes. The logic of learning has permeated educational discourses and placed emphasis on treating education as the means for students to develop skills in order to compete in the global market, which has led to impoverished perspectives on both education and the people we teach. In this thesis, I will argue that it is necessary to re-think the learning discourses and to discuss alternative educational experiences. I will refer to this kind of educational experience as study that unfolds without predetermined outcomes. It is necessary to make space and time for study in education because study is an educational experience that needs to be supported for its own sake. First, I will describe study as the experience of the human subject’s (im)potentiality whose function is to suspend the neoliberal logic in education that insists on the actualization of one’s potential in the name of generating more capital. Second, I will argue that the literature on study in education so far has not properly acknowledged study as a form of practice. So I will highlight another function of study as a practice of thinking. Next, I will develop a new theory of study as an educational experience that can shift the way we perceive the world and open new possibilities for being in the world. I will conclude this chapter with a call for a ‘new universality’ in education that acknowledges study as a legitimate form of education rather than as a waste of time and potential. Finally, I will discuss what can be done under the assumption that the people we teach are neither learners nor students but are rather studiers. Studiers are the human subjects of education who resist any classification and suspend the notion that we are willful human subjects always oriented towards action and the production of speech.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Charles Bingham
Roumiana Ilieva
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
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