Communism– a political and economic theory proposing the replacement of private ownership of goods or capital with common ownership and distribution upon need. (“Communism.” -Ologies and -Isms. 1986. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Feb. 2012)
Capitalism – In a capitalist economic system most productive assets are held by private owners, and most decisions about production and distribution are made by the market rather than government command. Capitalism thus suggests a system of economic regulation that involves minimal state involvement (The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States | 2005 | KERMIT L. HALL )
Fascism – is a reactionary and revolutionary ideology that emerged across Europe after World War I. Fascism was partially developed in Italy and became fully developed in Germany as a reaction against the unrestrained liberal capitalism of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which promoted individualism over communal organization. Fascism as an ideology is anti-Marxist in its militarization of culture, society, and the economy and its rejection of social reforms as a means to create community. As in communism, fascism emphasizes the primacy of the collective unit; however, fascists reject communism’s internationalism and instead define the community as a racial group whose passionate, heroic sacrifice for the nation will fulfill its historical destiny (International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences | 2008 )
Utopia – an ideal commonwealth whose inhabitants exist under seemingly perfect conditions. Hence “utopian” and “utopianism” are words used to denote visionary reform that tends to be impossibly idealistic. (Encyclopaedia Brittanica)
As politics appears to be the flavour of the month in Australia, my thoughts recently drifted to musing on the existence of edupolitical ideologies. I thought – why not? Seeing as how an increasing amount of educational talk and thought is framed is non-educational terms (business has clients and stakeholders – now so do we; education and schools get an annual checkup – just like the one’s doctors give) I wondered how well political ideologies and education would mesh. Not just (INSERT LOCAL POLITICAL PARTIES HERE), but foundation political ideologies, like the ones at the start of this post.
In order to make this a relatively painless, quick and hopefully coherent exercise, I think it’s wise to observe some boundaries – for instance, covering every political persuasion is an impossible task. And narrowing the scope of the comparison to one issue that has generated some discussion lately – namely the ownership and sharing of ideas – seems prudent. If I avoid allegorical clumsiness and the mesh is valid, then others may see additional ways to apply the notion and may want to further the story themselves.
At the start of this post, I’ve supplied the four definitions as a stimulus of sorts, and they will be the foundations of my thoughts. Everyone has heard of them (probably with varying degrees of interpretation) but I’m hoping that these generic statements will suffice.
The suggestion that there are edupolitical ideologies might seem ridiculous and a waste of time to some, but I think it’s got plenty to do with how teachers collect, use, remix and then propagate their ideas and resources. It has to do with your views on copyright, ownership and freedom of knowledge. It has roots in your social awareness and personal upbringing, and in your circumstances past and present. It could also be a product of the recent influence of others – the faceless men in your spheres of influence that shape your thinking.
This exercise is always going to be tinged with folly, but I believe there are some serious thinking points involved too. So with this in mind, check out the table below:
The obvious question first – as an edupolitical ideologist, where do your allegiances lay? Is it cut and dried, or more shaded and qualified?
Having said that, just like political parties, there are various factions and shades that blend these distinct groups into smaller parties and belief groups. As there should be. Subscribing to one philosophy holus bolus probably isn’t wise.
But to me the overriding question is “How should we vote when it comes to collecting, remixing and sharing ideas? Are ideas capital to be bought and sold? Or should ideas be freely found, used and moved on, with acknowledgement of the previous users? It can be argued that no idea these days is original, just a variation on precursor themes. Even if a new “discovery” in pedagogy is made, should it be kept for profit? Already court cases in the medical world argue that discoveries shouldn’t be patented
I’d love to hear your thoughts.