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“Becoming Educa’ed: from the PSE reports to the parrhesian self”

September 16, 2008

On Monday, October 20th @ 7 p.m. Dr. Chris Doran, Professor of Sociology at UNB Saint John, will deliver a talk on post-secondary education reform and how such reform might be resisted. The colloquium is scheduled to take place in RM 143 of Marshall D’Avray Hall, UNB Fredericton. Following is an abstract of Dr. Doran’s talk:

BECOMING EDUCA’ED: FROM THE PSE REPORTS TO THE PARRHESIAN SELF

The first aim of this paper is to situate this province’s recent debate on ‘post-secondary education’ reform within the wider, global (or, at least, western) context of social reform. Specifically,  my aim is not so much to evaluate the recent PSE reports and their surrounding discussions, but rather to contextualize and situate them within the wider social transformation which has been called ‘neo-liberalism’ by many; and which began with the break-up of western ‘welfare states’ in the 1980’s. But whereas many critics of neo-liberalism critique these reforms in terms of the marketization and commercialization of the university, my intention is to go beyond such critiques by showing neo-liberalism’s  effects at the level of the corporeal body itself; especially with regard to the discursive ‘construction’ of  new forms of  the ‘educated self’.

Moreover, as my own body has also been  enmeshed and, thus, ‘educated’ within this discursive field of ‘neo-liberalism’, I  spend the second half of this paper detailing how one might construct an ‘educated self’ which resists this ‘neo-liberal’ discourse from within. Following Dorothy Smith’s insistence that one can only describe the ‘social world from within’, I try and extend that insight by suggesting that one can only ‘resist’ this discursively constructed (disciplinary) social world from within, as well. And that such resistance necessitates the assembly of a ‘parrhesian’  experiential-textual self.

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