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Re-thinking liberation as "An answer without a question"

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Abstract:

This paper outlines a conceptual field for the question of liberation in education. With such thinkers as Michel de Certeau and Alain Badiou, it argues for a topography of liberation which is subjective to the point of unrecognizability, immune to the government of objects (such as ‘culture’) and systems (such as ‘development’). The question of liberation necessarily exceeds that of the anti-repressive inasmuch as a good cannot emerge from the elimination of an evil (the moralism of much “progressive” social justice education). Supplementary to the resistance to evil, liberation requires the articulation of an avocation, a declaration—what Badiou calls “an answer without a question.” This is a risk whose possibility is increasingly foreclosed in what de Certeau calls the “new dogmatism,” whereby “ethical tasks are replaced by what is supposed to be the expression of reality.” The active subject of liberation, and that to which education might turn in a move toward new ethical horizons, here owes a debt to the Lacanian theory of desire, by which the question of liberation follows from the failure of the symbolic law which constitutes intelligibilities. Absent the “diminishing but secure rewards” offered by pedagogues who seek to contain the question for ostensible—or measurable—transmission, “evental” libratory discourse requires logics of subtraction and suspension to open referential space for that figure of deepest anxiety, of the indefatigable companion terror which haunts all multivalent aspiration to liberation, and thus also which incites its most profound courage: the nihil, or nothing.

Author's Keywords:

Ethics, Subjectivity, Liberation
Convention
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492788_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Giles, Graham. "Re-thinking liberation as "An answer without a question"" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492788_index.html>

APA Citation:

Giles, G. , 2011-05-01 "Re-thinking liberation as "An answer without a question"" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492788_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper outlines a conceptual field for the question of liberation in education. With such thinkers as Michel de Certeau and Alain Badiou, it argues for a topography of liberation which is subjective to the point of unrecognizability, immune to the government of objects (such as ‘culture’) and systems (such as ‘development’). The question of liberation necessarily exceeds that of the anti-repressive inasmuch as a good cannot emerge from the elimination of an evil (the moralism of much “progressive” social justice education). Supplementary to the resistance to evil, liberation requires the articulation of an avocation, a declaration—what Badiou calls “an answer without a question.” This is a risk whose possibility is increasingly foreclosed in what de Certeau calls the “new dogmatism,” whereby “ethical tasks are replaced by what is supposed to be the expression of reality.” The active subject of liberation, and that to which education might turn in a move toward new ethical horizons, here owes a debt to the Lacanian theory of desire, by which the question of liberation follows from the failure of the symbolic law which constitutes intelligibilities. Absent the “diminishing but secure rewards” offered by pedagogues who seek to contain the question for ostensible—or measurable—transmission, “evental” libratory discourse requires logics of subtraction and suspension to open referential space for that figure of deepest anxiety, of the indefatigable companion terror which haunts all multivalent aspiration to liberation, and thus also which incites its most profound courage: the nihil, or nothing.


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