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Pinar et al. Chapter 9

Understanding Curriculum as Poststructuralist, Deconstructed, Postmodern Text
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Jai Jackson

on 6 October 2014

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Transcript of Pinar et al. Chapter 9

Understanding Curriculum
as Poststructuralist, Deconstructed,
Postmodern Text
Let’s get deep.
Poststructuralism
To understand poststructuralism, let’s explore structuralism.
A structuralist analyzes education in terms of the underlying structures.
To a structuralist, the system creates meaning.
Phenomenology focused on the sovereign consciousness of the self: “I perceive.”
Structuralism emerged to challenge it. Don’t structures, codes and systems constitute reality?
Language is the medium through which structures reveal themselves.
The influence of Ferdinand de Saussure’s linguistic theory on structuralism:
Structures within language for example, opposites (light/dark, absence/presence) determine meaning.
Language, as a system, produces reality, by engendering mental and social structures.
Aldous Huxley language gives us access to other people’s experience but it is also limiting as it creates a reduced awareness, which becomes our only awareness.
Do you agree that once you have applied language to a concept you have also reduced it?
Poststructuralism attacks structuralism:
If structures make meaning, then what is the relationship between the human mind and systems of meaning?
Poststructuralist Michel Foucault criticized: structuralists fail to take into account the political construction of systems.
Poststructuralism: Consciousness is formed by the discourse surrounding it.
Discourse constructs reality.
Example: What is the meaning of play?
To a structuralist, play may be defined as the opposite of work.
To a poststructuralist, play must be analyzed through how it is discursively formed under particular conditions.
Another example: What is a homosexual?
To a structuralist, a homosexual is not a heterosexual.
To a poststructuralist, the concept of homosexuality is produced at the intersection of multiple discourses (medical, legal, etc.).
A third example:
What is a black person?
Structuralist not a white person
Poststructuralist “Blackness” is constructed in particular discourses and how those discourse are selected, organized, and inscribed in a particular society.
Poststructuralist “Blackness” is constructed in particular discourses and how those discourse are selected, organized, and inscribed in a particular society.
Poststructuralism seeks to reveal the oppression of discursive practices, such as discourses on sexuality and race.
Do not ask, what is a woman? The self? A homosexual? Instead, investigate the discourses which created each of these by articulating them as essential and universal truths.
Deconstruction
Reality = text.
History aims to capture, to reconstruct. This is an impossible undertaking trying to capture an original past reality which cannot be captured.
Poststructuralism and deconstruction are part of a larger movement = Postmodernism.
Postmodernism = the end of modernism = the end of metanarratives, science and humanism.
Some facets of postmodernism:
-the death of the subject
-rejection of metanarratives, history, a final meaning
-the failure of reason to understand the world
-the movement of power as it discourses on the objects it constructs
-the celebration of difference
Postmodern conditions and attitudes:
-representing the world with images rather than print using television, advertising, and electronic media
-explosion of information and information technologies
-the unopposed preeminence of global capitalism
-humanization of the planet, killing nature
-integration of the state and economy
-new technologies support poststructural and deconstructed notions of the subject, time and history
-concepts of high culture and low culture blend, hierarchies of taste are debunked
“Everything that has ever happened is happening now!” NYC graffiti that captures the postmodern view of history history is simply a representation of the present disguised as the past.
A postmodern problem explosion of information. It is impossible to “stay on top of it all.”
The representation of the present becomes meaningless: Media presents information without making sense of it.
For example, the evening news jumps from a murder, to celebrity gossip, to the stock market downturn, to images of war, without any logical summary or interpretation.
A loss of faith in public leaders to articulate believable versions of what is happening.
Postmodern Characteristics:
-multiple selves
-multiple intelligences
-fragmentation
-variety of consumer options
-endless commodification and consumption
When efficiency becomes a supreme value, technology has replaced science.
“Living within artificial, reconstructed, arbitrary environments that are strictly the products of human conception, we have no way to be sure that we know what is true and what is not” (Jerry Mander, 1978).
When efficiency becomes a supreme value, technology has replaced science.
“Living within artificial, reconstructed, arbitrary environments that are strictly the products of human conception, we have no way to be sure that we know what is true and what is not” (Jerry Mander, 1978).
What is reality? Just copies with no original, constituted by the media and sold back to us.
Reality is constructed, packaged, and sold, and values such as truth, beauty, and goodness are replaced by marketability and efficiency.
We are wandering aimlessly, disoriented and dislocated from meaning and the subject, “affirming our freedom and individuality by constantly consuming ourselves in newer and newer forms.”
Major Players Poststructuralism and Curriculum Theory
Peter Taubman introduced poststructuralism to the curriculum field with his 1979 doctoral dissertation: “Gender and Curriculum.” In it, he:

-investigated the oppressive nature of the dominant discourses on gender and sexuality

-deconstructed the assumed unity of feminism, which led to discourses on feminisms.

-argued that oppositional discourses, such as feminism, were inextricably linked to those same oppressive discursive systems they sought to dismantle.
One of Taubman’s strategies to combat the anchoring of oppositional discourses in traditional discourses is poetical.
Example: What is sexuality? “intensities, dispersed whisperings, connections, co-minglings, communions and juxtapositions of degendered bodies and pleasures.”
Taubman on the role of the teacher: the identity of the teacher is initially formed in the gaze of someone else, who is informed by what they consciously or unconsciously feel being a teacher means, which is already a fiction.
Jacques Daignault the major deconstructed, poststructural curriculum theorist in North America
Knowledge = terrorism. It’s violence resulting from competition between ideologies, the reduction of many into one.
Knowledge = opportunity for power.
Its opposite is nihilism = abandoning any attempt to know.
Daignault urges us to find the in between, to multiply definitions, to invite a plural spelling.
Daignault on education: “The history of arts and sciences are a struggle against prejudices and clichs of an age, while the history of education is an irreducible struggle to find the best prejudices and cliches.”
Cleo Cherryholmes
Tyler’s Principles and Bloom’s Taxonomy appeal to educators because they promise order, organization, rationality, neutrality, expertise and progress
Structuralism meanings are decentered and external to the individual
Poststructuralism meanings are shifting, receding, fractured, incomplete, dispersed and deferred
Rebecca Martusewicz
Writes on reclaiming “woman” from male discourse
William Doll
Postmodernism will birth a new educational order, more complex, pluralistic, and unpredictable.

Teachers and students will emerge as individuals interacting together in the mutual exploration of relevant issues.
Traditional methods of evaluation and assessment will become obsolete, replaced by a focus on dialogue and the quality of inquiry.

Curriculum will not be a set, a priori, a course to run. It will become a passage of personal transformation.
What is the difference between Doll’s predicted transformation of education and the Socratic method?
How did NCLB help or hinder this transformation?
Henry Giroux
Identifies regressive aspects of postmodernism: heated consumerism, celebration of an apolitical pop culture, and the cultivation of an ironical or cynical stance.
Joe Kincheloe and Shirley Steinberg
Postformal thinking:
-refusing to take for granted the pronouncements of standardized tests
-emphasizing understanding over memorization
-uncovering various levels of connections between mind and ecosystem
-uncovering the role of power in shaping how the world is represented
-ending the role of the white male experience as the standard by which all experience is measured
Peter McLaren
We live in a state of historical amnesia and have lost any real sense of democracy.

Our current pathological, postmodern condition: consumerism, greed, narcissism, severe economic and racial injustices, heightened social paranoia.
Thanks
Structuralism = Analysis and philosophy which privileges structures, systems, and sets of relations.
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