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ERIC Number: EJ870844
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1946
Reviving Reification: Education, Indoctrination, and Anxiety in "The Graduate"
Cooley, Aaron
Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, v45 n4 p358-376 2009
This article takes its inspiration and method from Slavoj Zizek's work that reads and integrates social theory with popular culture through the medium of film. I use the film "The Graduate" (Nichols 1967) as a prism to illuminate the concept of reification as a fundamental, defining feature of modern societies and their educational systems. The main character of the film, Benjamin Braddock (Ben), has just graduated from an elite college, but he seems to have learned nothing about the world or his place in it. Ben senses that he missed something in his education and he has tremendous anxiety about reentering the anodyne land of his upbringing in suburban southern California. The film details Ben's varied attempts to reject the reification of this world and its vapid, empty, and meaningless relationships for something more significant and authentic. Of course, Ben's attempts to reject reification are fraught with contradictions and his attempts to break free from this reified existence prove to be futile. Nonetheless, his anxiety and his distaste for plunging into his prescripted future are instructive in better understanding this forgotten and beleaguered concept of reification. For progressively minded education scholars, the reinvigoration of reification as a term of analysis can provide a needed critical lens to question the misleading, misguided, and mistaken educational policies that trap so many graduates (from primary school, high school, college, and graduate school) into a world of reified social, economic, and political processes. (Contains 22 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A