Utopian Tendencies Episode 6: the Lifelong Learning Swindle

Yesterday’s Utopian Tendencies discussion on ds106radio was focused around Annette Krauss’s chapter “Lifelong Learning and the Professionalised Learner” from the 2018 book Unlearning Exercises: Arts Organizations as Sites for Unlearning. This was a reading Lauren Heywood shared and I really enjoyed it, here are a couple of Tweets along while I was reading it to give you a sense:

Krauss interrogates the seemingly benign implications of the term “lifelong learning” by framing how the European Union has used this term as a way to further deregulate education in hopes of developing the sector as an economic market. The term neo-liberal gets bandied about loosely, but this essay digs into the ways in which education as a public good has been intentionally eroded in Europe as a means to place responsibility, in particular economic, more squarely on the individual rather than the community/government. There is a lot to unpack in this essay, and it maps the logical extension of this kind of thinking  on higher ed at a moment when societal impact of COVID-19 is laying bare how disastrous this move will prove for so many of Europe’s most vulnerable. What’s more, as we look back at the US, a context I carry with me always, the cracks in that system are boiling over to full blown revolt as the plans for K12 and higher education become increasingly more politicized as institutions and governments are forced to choose between human life and the market.

As always I really appreciate all the folks on that were kind enough to no only listen but add feedback and commentary along the way. I had mentioned the critique Krauss was applying to lifelong learnign could just as easily be grafted onto the open education movement viz-a-viz OER, etc. And Anne-Marie Scott tweeted out this 2015 article that reminded me there is nothing new under the sun 🙂


I was also shamed by Brian Lamb for forgetting the University of Utopia while I was recommended Lauren and I start Utopia University:

All I can say to Mr. Lamb is stay in your lane!

And with that, we did it again, we did it again, we did it again, we did it again, we did it again, we did it again, we did it again, we did it again….

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