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ERIC Number: EJ1173422
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0726-2655
Violence and the Crisis of Meaning in a Neo-Liberal World
Shapiro, Svi
Education and Society, v35 n2 p41-61 Aug 2017
The struggle for meaning is central to human existence. Beyond material needs meaning offers purpose and hope to our lives. The present context of our existence is now shaped by the powerful influence of global capitalism which disrupts the communal bonds of traditional communities leaving an atomized individualism in its place. In the more developed world capitalism offers a shallow and endless desire for more things, a technocratic rationality that speaks only of efficiency and productivity, and a culture that erodes communal solidarity with an invidious competitiveness among individuals. Schooling, in the main, reproduces and reinforces subjects' desires, beliefs and values of a neo-liberal world-view. It defines education in ways that connects it to jobs and conformity to the culture of capitalism. Little there now speaks to a civic culture and the dispositions of a critical democracy. Within this global context it becomes possible to understand the way that autocratic religious beliefs or aggressive forms of nationalism and ethnic identity emerge to provide alternative cultures to satisfy the human demand for meaning and purpose. Each constructs imaginary communities of meaning that offer narratives of purpose and connection among individuals. Of course such communities are ones connected around a binary understanding of the world in which others are viewed as enemies who seek their destruction. The author suggests that education now has an immense responsibility addressing this existential global crisis in ways that affirm the human need for meaning and community but in ways that are reparative of our collective and environmental bonds.
James Nicholas Publishers. PO Box 5179, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Australia. Tel: +61-39-696-5545; Fax: +61-39-699-2040; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A