Waste-full : A Philosophical Investigation of the Pedagogical Potential of Waste
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Recent changes to educational policy and subsequent economic and curricular consequences have caused concern among educators about the normative direction of education. Just as the political and economic systems are rooted in instrumental rationality, so too do they mandate the instrumentalization of the mode of societal reproduction that is the public education system. A mandate such as this positions diversity in thought in the classroom as inimical to political and economic viability. However, taking into consideration the normative and aesthetic dimensions of human rationality we are also beholden to attunes us to the nature of waste as a reservoir of potential vitality. With this orientation, the author argues, the repressive and alienating forces of waste can be made emancipatory and reconciliatory. The author first gives an exposition on the development of the parochial aim of eliminating waste, followed alternative approaches to improving human rationality such as are suggested by Bataille and Deleuze and Guattari. The author then introduces radical pedagogies focusing on play and place that frame the transformative potential of waste in the classroom. Finally, Habermas’ theory of Communicative Action develops the discourse wherein waste can become honored within the ecology of the classroom as a nourishing resource of a shared lifeworld.