01 SES 16 A, U-turn on the Highway to Hell? Education and Professional Development for Sustainability as Praxis
Despite the evidence of our destructive lifeform a global tendency of neo-liberal school policy is to engage all educational institutions still more tightly to act as means of economic growth and productivity. In my monograph Education in the Age of Ecological Crisis (2018) I questioned: how does the socialization process work in forming one’s subjectivity according to the consumerist capitalism, and how to deconstruct our destructive engagements with the prevailing “economic” socialization? Trying to answer I utilized Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s late philosophy of nature, Jacques Lacan’s theory of desire, and Herbert Marcuse´s and Slavoj Žižek’s interpretations on the subject formation in the framework of psycho-capitalism. I also used my own concept of the metaphysics of cave to refer to the collective intentions of our civilization to isolate and refuse the wicked problems, as nuclear waste, from our everyday consciousness. I utilize the cave that hides the nuclear canisters underground (Olkiluoto, Finland) as a metaphor of distancing and isolating the wicked beings away from our everyday life. I argue that the normalization of distancing is an essential goal of economic driven socialization. For Lacan subject’s desire is a primary “force” to aim at coherence, enjoyment and recognition from the others in the formation of subjectivity. Overall the experience of recognition is necessary for the development of subject’s personal integrity. The driving force of a capitalist labor market is to keep the subject as uncertain and worried about their own deficiency. The constantly changing capitalist market consistently produces problems that it promises to heal by giving the hopes and offerings about novel ways for developing subjects’ skills and competences. But under the interests of instrumental socialization subjects are treated as tool for the aims of technological and commercial interests. The ecological turn in education requires our understanding of the psycho-dynamic process of a subjectivity formation in the framework of global capitalism. A person’s desire to develop herself or himself as a life-long learner is engaged with the interests of consumerist capitalism which is based on the collective refusal of huge floating plastic rafts or nuclear waste as isolated and denied hyper objects (see Morton 2013) that in fact are keeping our destructive civilization going on. Uncovering these isolated conditions and commitments as a background of instrumental socialization is necessary for changing, deconstructing and reconstructing education as a basis for a sustainable lifeform.
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