Rethinking the Learning Society: Giorgio Agamben on Studying, Stupidity, and Impotence

Studies in Philosophy and Education 30 (6):585-599 (2011)
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Abstract

In this article, the author rethinks critiques of the learning society using Giorgio Agamben’s theory of potentiality. Summarizing several major contributions to our understanding of the limitations of the discourse of learning, the author proposes that critics thus far have failed to fully pinpoint the exact danger of learning. Importantly, learning is not only a rejection of the democratic or political dimension of education but it is first and foremost predicated on a false ontology of potentiality. What is put at risk in learning is a sacrifice of our (im)potential, our capacity to be or not to be this or that within the order of things. Through a reconstruction of Agamben’s theory of studying, the author argues for a different conceptualization of freedom in education, of teaching, and of the time of education

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