Wednesday 30 March 2011

The purpose of education in the Risk Society?

There is a central question: in an economy that manufactures risk, what sort of education is required and what is its purpose?
"Everywhere educational reform is accompanied by a dependence on education. More and more groups get caught up in the race for educational credentials. As a result there emerge new internal differentiations. Whilst these may still respond to traditional differences between groups, the impact of education makes them fundamentally different from traditional ones. [...] In conjunction with novel patterns of upward and downward mobility and increasing local labour mobility as well, new hierarchies and differentiations develop which are internal to social classes. They presuppose the expansion of the service sector and the creation of new occupations."(Ulrich Beck, "The Risk Society")
Beck suggests that Berstein's distinction about linguistic performances is central.  How would we teach that? Would that be sufficient for education to meet the needs of the risk society?

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