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Education beyond reason and redemption: A detour through the death drive

Clarke, Matthew (2018) Education beyond reason and redemption: A detour through the death drive. Pedagogy, Culture and Society.

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Abstract

In contrast to a world that often feels filled with madness and disillusion, education is associated with reason and redemption. Yet from a psychoanalytic perspective, such positivity in relation to education suggests a fantasmatic dimension – a refusal of the inevitable dislocations that prevent life from being harmonious and complete. In this paper, I seek to counter this relentless positivity through an engagement with the negativity of the death drive. Specifically, I provide analyses of two deathly films which can be read as responses to the ills and anxieties of modernity, Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society, and Fritz Lang’s M. But whereas Dead Poets Society divides social and educational reality into good and bad, offering the former refuge in romantic individualism, M insists that society as a whole can be viewed as a destructive educational machine – a message that, though hardly comforting, might offer a starting point for rethinking education.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: "This is an accepted version of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Pedagogy, Culture and Society on 05/03/2018, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14681366.2018.1447508
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14681366.2018.1447508
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
School/Department: School of Education
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2877

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