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ERIC Number: EJ837815
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-0010-8146
Consuming Learning
Usher, Robin
Convergence, v41 n1 p29-45 2008
In investigating the place of consumption in education it is necessary to question both critical theory's language of manipulation and neo-liberalism's language of rational action as ways of explaining the significance of consumption in people's lives and where it has assumed a central status in the contemporary social order. This paper argues that consumption is a sign economy where practices of signification, such as those to do with lifestyle, have assumed a significant place. Learning is energised by desire, which can follow many paths and take multiple forms. This has led to a lessening of the centrality of institutional education. As people are positioned as consumers, they become consumers of learning. Participation in learning activities cannot therefore be understood by contemporary educators without reference to consumption. But many doubt whether the learning taking place is really "worthwhile", which poses the question--who is to define what is worthwhile? The contemporary situation is frustrating for those seeking social justice and transformation through education because nothing seems sufficiently credible to merit the commitment necessary to achieve those goals. The lifestyle practices that come with signifying consumption are difficult to work with educationally even though educating for lifestyle practices offers, and indeed is providing, great scope for adult education programmes. But this is alien to the taste and sensibilities of many adult educators. An alternative is to work with pockets of resistance to consumer culture that involve learning on the part of those participating, but a learning that is more rhizomatic--a learning that takes off in a variety of directions. (Contains 7 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A