EDUCATION AND THE CYBERNETIC HYPOTHESIS A synoptic View
Aim: Since the end of world war II, western nation states increasingly have moved toward post-national knowledge economy where supranational organizations shape national policy and knowledge has been rendered a commodity. According to writers collective Tiqqun, the underlying master-fiction in this move is one of cybernetic character: the privileging of concepts such as information, control, communication and feedback. They argue that the ‘cybernetic hypothesis’ has supplanted the ‘liberal hypothesis’. The aim of this dissertation is to outline the effects of the ‘cybernetic hypothesis’ on education and educational scholarship. Theory: While Tiqqun can be said to continue in the theoretical tradition of Michael Foucault, this dissertation, in addition to Tiqqun, draws inspiration from Antonio Gramsci and his theory of cultural Hegemony. Especially so-called Neo-Gramscian theory which introduce an analytical sensitivity towards concepts such as globalization. This theoretical path affords the possibility to assemble a dialectics of totality, where the consciousness of a period can be coupled with the institutional and technological arrangements of said period. Method: Not to reproduce the cybernetic hypothesis, which promotes empirical methods in research, this dissertation draws inspiration from the synoptic method traditionally utilized within the humanities. The method has been chosen to force upon the work the activity of embodied thinking through the combination of platonic particulars into a synoptic whole. Results: The metaphor of information, the ontological basis of the ‘cybernetic hypothesis’, has rendered education a concerted effort to separate representations of human faculties in order to optimize the temporal and spatial efficiency of communication. Education, in this sense, is increasingly individualized and oriented toward optimal connectivity in order to secure a continual flow and management of information; a prerequisite for a cybernetic capitalism. This forms a set of critical problems for scholars in education which, it is argued, calls for serious consideration.