Yhteiskunnan ja koululaitoksen tila moraalisubjektiksi kasvamisen näkökulmasta


  • Veli-Matti Värri


sotilaspedagogiikka, kansalaiskasvatus, merkitysnäkökenttä, hallinta, uusliberalismi, Bildung-projekti


SOCIETY, SCHOOL AND MORAL EDUCATION: THE CONDITIONS OF GROWTH IN TO A MORAL SUBJECT The aim of my article is the analysis of the conditions of growth into a moral subject and of the social prerequisites of education for citizenship in an age characterized by the post-nationalist global challenges (ecological, cultural and economic globalization) of the late modern world. In the late modern information society the horizon of significance is more dispersed and fragmented than ever before. The questions of education and citizenship must be set in the sphere of globalized nation states marked by multi-culturalism, marketization and neo-liberal economy. Instead of the national policy, the discourse and terminology of education emerge increasingly from the neo-liberal economy and global markets. The moral sphere has changed from the national identity toward the post-structural and postmodern meanings of subjectivity. A rhetoric that emphasizes individuality and a subjectivist view of values has come to the fore at the same time as the ideological focus points of the nation state have changed: to put it in simple terms, the nation state has become dominated by economic factors, and the economy has become globalized. In the power balance between politics and economic factors, the global economy has assumed a dominant role over the national economy. The frame of reference of the global economy with its neo-liberal ideals has left its mark on society at all levels, from the educational institutions to work and the daily life of families. The concept of citizenship and the problematics of the goals of education in late modern society must inevitably be assessed within this frame of reference. After the “economic turn” of the moral perspective of nation states, i.e. the triumph of a neo-liberal ideology, education is under threat of being reduced to a tool of the economy. Within the frame of reference of the economy-driven international educational policy lies the obvious risk that the interpretation of education as a tool of the economy will lead to supranational standardization and assessment, that testing and quality assessment will become the criteria of learning and that the ideology of results and quality assessment will gradually become a new universalist area of “moral education” in our secularized, value-subjective age. From the point of view of Foulcaultian critique, this constitutes an attempt to standardize, stabilize and control behaviour, to implement the principles of a neo-liberal pedagogical ethic that aspires to concretize competence for the labour market and the ideals of consumer behaviour. In fact, attempts to create the subjectivity expected by the market present barriers to the development of a moral subject and the recognition of moral challenges in civic education. When education is reduced to purportedly neutral, test-assessed learning, we lose sight of the real challenges posed by the development of a moral subject: the problem of the the horizon of education (i.e. the question of the moral perspective required by the present age), ecological realities, the polarization of society (i.e. the increase in inequality), the demands of pluralism and the commercial colonisation of childhood. Late modern education must go beyond both the collective ideology of communitarianism and the individualistic level of pleasure: its goal will be to create a new kind of education to replace an instrumentalism that objectifies the human being and destroys nature. This aspiration requires both demolition and construction. Lockian liberalism made the satisfaction of pleasure and happiness into values worth attaining, but in a profoundly inter-subjective and ethical sense: one might not violate the rights of others nor aspire to happiness at the cost of others. The liberal subject is the result of a long political education, and as such an important and essential creation, but our problem is that out of it has arisen a image of the human being based on hybris − we can discern rights but not boundaries and responsibilities (for example, with regard to nature). In the present age of a consumer-centred, competition-driven economy and value-subjectivism, the concentration on pleasure has become detached from its moral foundation and turned into a goal in itself − individuality and the attainment of individual pleasure have become the driving forces behind the economized reality. For this reason, a value-subjective interpretation of liberalism is insensitive to the ecological and socio-economic challenges of late modern society, and it is thus unsuitable as the basis of moral education. Education can no longer be based merely on the perspective of the nation state and nationalism, because they themselves are historical constructions which it is imperative to go beyond in an age that demands global responsibility. The greatest challenge for the creation of a value perspective for education stems both from the relationship between the human being and the world and the radical re-interpretation of the human (corporal) self with her or his foundational ecological ties: How can we find the basis for a good life and education without collective certainties and metaphysical principles? How can we accept pleasure as the source of happiness and strive to create a constructive frameworks for directing our pleasures and at the same time put up barriers to consumer hedonism? We need the new kind of Bildung-project that requires a re-interpretation of the moral subject. The search for pedagogical solutions to create a new kind of education, consisting in the cultivation of pleasure, requires broad learning at many different levels and a theoretical ability to interpret the constantly changing socio-cultural conditions of education; it demands an understanding of the interwoven connection between the internal structure of the individual and the ideological structures of society. We need both the educational horizon of hope (see Freire) and globally shared visions of the basic virtues (moderation, justice and charity) for preserving our action competence in the middle of the ongoing ecological crisis. Artikkeli on suomen kielellä ja luettavissa painetussa julkaisussa Tiede ja ase 65 (hinta 20 €). Julkaisun voi tilata Tiedekirjasta sähköpostitse tiedekirja@tsv.fi tai verkkokaupasta www.tiedekirja.fi

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Veli-Matti Värri





Värri, V.-M. (2008). Yhteiskunnan ja koululaitoksen tila moraalisubjektiksi kasvamisen näkökulmasta. Tiede ja ase, 65. Noudettu osoitteesta https://journal.fi/ta/article/view/394