Activist andragogy in the risk society

Název česky Aktivistická andragogika v rizikové společnosti


Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis From the second half of the 1980s, Ulrich Beck began stating that the world was entering the so-called risk society phase, meaning a society in which threats and risks are not locally connected to a particular occupation or area, but rather apply globally to everyone regardless of race, class or wealth. Primarily environmental problems of contaminated land, air and water, become social problems, with pervasive fear and insecurity leading to the establishment of new social movements, as well as radicalisation and fanaticism. Beck points out that it is the fundamental task of educational institutions to form the skills necessary to deal with this fear and insecurity. Furthermore, in this era they should also seek to ensure the current generation no longer contributes to the creation of risk, but rather to the prevention of further risks. As such, in the risk society andragogy can no longer be a discipline which merely describes how people are educated and learn, but does not reflect the possibility of “calling for action”. We encounter so-called activist andragogy (here we perceive activism in a broad sense as an activity leading through collective action to implementation of a particular project) as early as in the age of Enlightenment, and the tendency to intervene in social reality through adult education has been and continues to be an integral part of modernity, and we see this to a greater extent beginning in the 1960s, in particular through Brazilian educator and philosopher, Paulo Freire, and his idea of conscientization (and thus emancipation) the masses through the specific project of literacy. It is clear here that activism and contemporary andragogical thought are strongly inter-related. The question remains, however, as to whether activism is reflected and this reflection is transmitted back into andragogical reasoning. Many undoubtedly activism-focused figures (naturally Freire, but also, e.g. Bartolomeo, McLaren, Giroux, Newman and others) are highly cited today. But the question is whether this is a result of their activism and/or whether it is due to the inspiration of their theoretical arguments. Another reason for investigating activism within education is the fact that andragogical practice is frequently involved in the services of social movements where humanist bases which have been an integral part of andragogy since it was founded are successfully utilised. And the final reason for doing in regard to adult education is the often mentioned and discussed engagement of theoreticians, and through them the engagement of theory. In contrast to this, activism is explicitly mentioned and discussed less, with authors only rarely embracing it, and this being perceived as problematic where they do. For these reasons, it is worth positing the questions: Is only practice activist in nature, or does theory also implicitly or explicitly incorporate elements of activism? Is activism a significant or marginal source for enriching andragogical theory? On what basis are activism and andragogical theory and practice linked? This study endeavours to outline a response to these questions while endeavouring to ensure an objective approach based on contemporary theoretical thought. Based on the literature review we conclude that there are some segments of adult education practice where activism is still alive and where ideas of activism-focused figures are being used concurrently with other inspirations like pragmatism or constructivism. Activism and its potential - perhaps paradoxically - has received more attention in the work of those contemporary theorists who are attempting to create an eclectic theory of adult learning, as evidenced by the ideas of Jarvis and Illeris.