Bristol Conversations in Education - Ideas, Ideology and Activism in Education: and the role of Teachers as Transformative, Organic Intellectuals
Prof. Dave Hill
Helen Wodehouse Lecture Theatre, School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol, BS8 1JA
This event is part of the School of Education's 'Bristol Conversations in Education' seminar series.
Speaker: Prof. Dave Hill
`The ideas of the ruling class are, in every epoch, the ruling ideas, that is, the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force'. Karl Marx (1846)
The quote from Marx is as true today as it was 150 years ago, but the resistance to the `common sense' of austerity: the marches and protests, the awareness of the sheer cruelty of immiseration capitalism, and its sheer hypocrisy, are resulting in a much fiercer clash of ideologies.
These `ruling ideas’ are contested, not just in education, as a form of social and economic reproduction, but also through emergent Resistance Theory, and the role of agency. Now, hegemonic ideology, written about by Gramsci, whereby the relentless state, media, politicians' and education apparatuses seek to perpetuate a pro-capitalist dominant world view is contested in permanent `Culture Wars’.
For some decades across most of the world, it became `common sense' (but far from what Gramsci termed `good sense') to beat the drums of conflict and action against Russia, to persist with austerity, to let billionaires rule the media, in a world in which filmic dystopias become reality, and the super-rich privatise and profiteer to their hearts' content: to marketise, commodify, consumerise, and scarcely regulate; to have a society in which the rich have 18 more years of healthy life than the poor, a society in which education, becomes a private acquisition rather than a public and social good. A nakedly classed society of exploitation and (raced and gendered) class oppression.
The role of Ideological State Apparatuses (such as schools, universities, the Mass Media, religions) and of Repressive State Apparatuses (the law, the police, the armed forces, the `secret state’) written about by Louis Althusser, all point to the need for resistance, for developing `true consciousness/ class consciousness' or, in Gramsci's phrase, `good sense' against neoliberal `common sense'.
We need Critical Pedagogy, Critical Education in schools and colleges and universities, for school and college and university teachers to be counter-hegemonic, public, transformative intellectuals. But we need more than this, Marx, Gramsci, Althusser, Trotsky, all point to the need for political education, inside and outside the formal education arena. And, furthermore, for organisation, for preparedness, for activism, for courage, and for solidarity.