Education is War : The Constitution of Postindustrial Learning

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Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (PhD)
Date created: 
Education and State
Militarism and education
Influence of war on education

The central thesis of this dissertation is that war and militarism have been formative in the development of Western education from its inception in Classical Greece until the present. The secondary thesis is that the formative influence of warfare on education and on society more generally was neglected by the AngloAmerican academy during the twentieth century.


This is not to suggest that twentieth century AngloAmerican scholarship and research was not war related. Rather, it is to suggest that the theoretical and critical study of the formative role of warfare was neglected in inverse proportion to the academic effort devoted to war during that century. The author posits that this critical and theoretical avoidance was a function of the confluence of material conditions, the Cold War for instance, with the academic perception of society as generally peaceful, a perception largely based in the influence of Marx and Spencer.


This neglect is compared to the formative role assigned to warfare in the early twentieth century German academy, to war as a theme central to twentieth century American literature, and to the focus on war in French poststructural theory. Chapter 1 is comprised of a brief history of the academic construction of warfare in the twentieth century. The author proffers some reasons for the war aporias that he locates in the AngloAmerican academy. The second chapter outlines method.


Chapters 3 and 4 are devoted to a theoretical analysis of the development of mass media, the state, mass schooling, mass warfare and education. The author posits that war was totally blended into quotidian existence between~ 1870 and the end of the twentieth century. The influence of military considerations on the development of the research university is explicated by tracing the development of organic chemistry, propaganda, computers, and instructional technology and educational psychology. In Chapter 5, the author argues that these industrial processes were superseded after World War II, the change evident in the production of "postindustrial learning." He concludes by asking if education as warfare is a permanent condition.

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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Roland Case
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.