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Notes from Underground: a lament for eäarthlings

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
What is education for? Jan Zwicky: "What is poetry for? I'd like to come at this question by asking another: Why are there different modes and genres of linguistic communication? Why are there both prose fictions and epic narrative poems? Both hymns and theological discourses? Love letters and marriage contracts? I believe the answer is because how we say is fundamental to what we mean. We amplify, we ironize, we enact, we undercut the ostensible 'content' of our gestures by the tone, rhythm, structure, and vocabulary we use to make them… What it means is that if you want to communicate, in language, your love for, say, a particular range of hills in west central Saskatchewan, you will need a form of words that, tonally, connotatively, structurally, does not signal an even deeper allegiance to the agendas of capitalist exploitation." (2011, p. 13). This is the thesis of this thesis: that we undercut the ostensible 'content' of environmental educationecological footprints, interconnectivity, the precautionary principle, etc.—not to mention its "deeper" implications: that we are merely eäarthlings, merely more-than-human animals co-composed of many things—with a formal structure that schools an even deeper allegiance to the agendas of exploitation. Given that the real problem in education lies with its deep epistemological structure, it seems unlikely that conventional modes of critique—let alone some extra modules on sustainable development—are going to propel us beyond such a deep-seated framework. Is there a way out of this tight circle? A good question, & the truth is: no one knows. But there is, one prays, something to be gained in discerning its trace upon our thoughtforms. As Zwicky aptly notes: "The power of the technocratic worldview is not fundamentally illustrated by the extent of its achievements, but rather—as Heidegger thought—by the extent of its ability to disguise from itself that it is a perspective, a way of viewing the world" (2014, p. 8). The move then, presumably, is to pluralize & provincialize its analytic and univocal hegemony. This work attempts to enact such a move.
176 pages.
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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Blenkinsop, Sean
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