Occupying Education: the power of the empty signifier

On July 1st, Dr. Cassie Earl will be joining the School of Education and Research in Critical Education Studies group. We are delighted to welcome her to our community. Below is an abstract for a paper she presented recently at the 5th International Conference on Critical Education at the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw, Poland, entitled ‘Occupying education: the power of the empty signifier’.

“The global Occupy actions gave some pause for thought. At first, some thought that this was a global movement that could change the way politics was conducted and maybe see the end of capitalism as we knew it. The hopes for Occupy were high, but the highest hopes for the movement were short lived. This paper examines Occupy’s legacy; what potential remains and where we might go with it. It argue sthat Occupy became an empty signifier: a ‘bucket’ of discontent into which thousands of disjointed, dissenting voices and discontents were poured, ranging from the original Wall Street encampment to the Umbrella revolution in Occupy Central. The paper looks at the power of the ‘empty signifier’ as a galvanising mechanism and explores what this could mean for education. The notion of occupying the curriculum in HE will be explored as a unifying mechanism for multidisciplinary teaching and learning.”

One thought on “Occupying Education: the power of the empty signifier

  1. fred6368

    I was very critical of Occupy at the time as I thought the slogan “we are the 99%” was coined by people who wanted to be part of the 1% and had been disappointed, rather than being a concern with social justice. However as I had been involved with the longest occupation of a UK institute of HE (Northern Polytechnic in 1971) I thought I would help at gave a talk at Occupy UCL on what I had learnt – some info here.
    http://www.slideshare.net/fredgarnett/pnl-occupation-lessons.

    Following my talk the SukeyData project was set up
    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-01/31/sukey-protest-app

    I also set up the WikiQuals project at the request of some of those involved with the Occupation at UCL – more here in my blog post Building Democratic Learning;
    https://wikiquals.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/building-democratic-learning/

    Happy to discuss…

    Reply

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