World institutions, world dispositions

Year: 1996

Author: Ladwig, James

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper presents a synthetic analysis of the relationship between the "world-culture system", nation-states, and subjectivity, while focusing on education as a prime site of analysis. Drawing on a wide array of currently disparate bodies of scholarly literature, the paper argues for an understanding of subjectivity based on constellations of cultural dispositions and a focus on institutions within global and national analyses.

Points of analytical departure for this paper include: (a) arguments about the possibility of developing anti-racist, feminist, or so-called multicultural curriculum committed to various celebratory notions of "cultural difference," (b) Weberian analyses of schooling as culturally entrenched within the Modernist iron-cage, (c) Bourdieu's analysis of education as producing cultural differentiations/distinctions, (d) post-colonial analyses of hybridity and the ever-contested amalgamations constructed in the interactions with colonial cultures, (e) cross-national analyses of the processes of cultural difference, (f) analyses of world-systems theory, (g) analyses of education and curriculum as one institution of the world-culture system, (h) analyses of "fast capitalism" and its relation to current educational restructuring, and (I) post-structural analyses of multiple subjectivities.

This overall theoretical framework, which might be termed a "post-modern" recognition of the developing (modern) world-culture system, poses profound shifts in current theoretical and political debates about cultural difference, by bringing together seemingly contradictory theoretical perspectives. The paper closes with an attempt to outline some of the political and theoretical implications of the framework presented in the paper.