Developing a Marxian approach to educational research in 'new times'

Year: 1997

Author: Raduntz, Helen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

New times' in my estimation represents a re-emergence of laissez-faire capitalism in an advanced and totalising form, and the apparent fragmentation of social life is a manifestation of the unifying dynamic that is still capital accumulation.

On these premises I propose that trends in education can appropriately be examined with the aid of a developed Marxian method from a starting point that education is a productive activity whose outcome in abstract terms is marketable labour power by virtue of its acquired skills, knowledge bundled with 'correct' attitudes and ethics.

This stance follows my perceptions that: 1) there has been a serious undervaluation by later Western Marxist and critical theory traditions regarding the influence of Hegel's dialectical logic on Marx's method of analysing capitalism, and a tendency to focus on substantive issues to the exclusion of the formative in Marxian method; and 2) the potential of a Marxian method has been hampered on the one hand by criticisms of Marx filtered mainly through mainstream Western social science and sociological frameworks, and on the other, by a virtually uncritical acceptance of Marx as interpreted by Engels sometimes erroneously and dialectical materialism that emanated from Engel's Dialectics of Nature.