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Reconciling theories of educational utopia: A proposal for a two-tiered theory for change


Reconciling theories of educational utopia: A proposal for a two-tiered theory for change

Desforges, Roxanne (2012) Reconciling theories of educational utopia: A proposal for a two-tiered theory for change. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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As the traditional concept of utopia consists of a blueprint for an ideal society, the conversation surrounding the question of utopianism in education has long been focused on theorizing educational change. Utopianism, however, has been widely criticized by those who find its concept problematic and its method practically ineffective. Without a utopia in sight, philosophers of education and policy-makers have been forced to consider other avenues of educational reform. The education community now questions whether
there remains a place for utopian theorizing in education.
This thesis argues that there is indeed a place and moreover, a need, for
utopianism in education. Increasingly, new conceptions of utopia are being offered to distance the notion from its objectionable aspects and salvage its aim of positive social change. Yet the question remains: what conceptions of utopianism might enable this transformation?
Iconoclastic utopianism, a less stringent and more exploratory strategy, has been heralded as a solution to the criticisms of blueprint utopianism.However, I question the ability of iconoclastic utopianism to deliver the change utopianism is meant to bring about. I claim that by asserting universal ideals alongside the open-ended iconoclastic utopianism, a two-tiered strategy consisting of a layer of universal ideals, with an overlay of iconoclastic utopianism can better provoke real social and educational change. I consider the ideals of Martha Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach as an example of the kind of strong ideals that can bring about educational change. Ultimately, I ask that further inquiry be pointed in the direction of a two-tiered approach to educational utopia.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Desforges, Roxanne
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Educational Studies
Date:15 September 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Waddington, David
Keywords:education, philosophy, utopianism, utopian, utopia, universalism, history, Plato, Rousseau, Nussbaum, reform, change, blueprint
ID Code:974782
Deposited On:25 Oct 2012 16:39
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:39


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