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Democracy and education: In spite of it all

Clarke, Matthew (2017) Democracy and education: In spite of it all. Power and Education. (In Press)

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Abstract

This paper draws on psychoanalytic theory to reconsider democracy, education and their relationship. I argue for the pervasive presence of fantasmatic thinking in relation to both democracy and education in much media and policy discussion, which fuels our subjection to ideology through cruelly optimistic promises about the future benefits which will accrue from current sacrifice - promises which are exposed as false by persistent and growing economic inequality and the substantial failure to fulfil its inflated promises that is endemic to modern education. By contrast, the paper argues for a politics grounded in an acceptance of constitutive lacking status as desiring subjects, which recognises and embraces the enjoyment that comes from loss, thereby freeing us from the spell of compulsive repetition reflected in our fixation on fantasmatic programs of redemption in both politics and education. This might open possibilities for realising, albeit indirectly and obliquely, the goals which continually escape our more overt attempts to grasp them. My overall argument is that the flaws and illusions characterising our experiences of democracy and education are not reasons to abandon them but instead suggest a need to rework our relationship to them in less fantasmatic ways, 'in spite of it all'.

Item Type: Article
Status: In Press
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
School/Department: School of Education
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2364

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