The idea of future and contemporary education

The project examined the links between education, security, and future from a genealogical perspective. How does our understanding of the future, which is increasingly shaped by notions of risk and security, affect the project of modernity, which, with its orientation towards progress and emancipation, has driven modern education? Although the structures of educational institutions do not seem to have changed significantly, the understanding of institutional practices and the associated discourses have fostered new insights. The increasing knowledge built on calculations against the future justifies not only pedagogical programs, national reforms, and surveillance schemes in schools, but also new educational ideals.

Will education leave behind the modern goal to construct the future as a time of alterity (Koselleck)? Will school, an institution that has traditionally been set up as one of the modern pillars of progress, be converted into a security technology and a tool to minimize individual and collective threats? Is education gradually giving up its duty to construct an “open” (and uncertain) future?

In order to investigate the notion of security as a central element in contemporary education narratives, this project aimed to a) contrast contemporary narratives about the future with modern narratives, analyzing the ambivalence between fear of the future and hope for progress; b) explore how education, particularly the school, can be seen as a modern technology and temporal tool that operates in private as well as in the public sphere; c) trace the presence of notions of security in contemporary narratives and discourses of education by international institutions and in educational policies; d) identify and compare the notions of security and risk in the education policies of Germany and Brazil.

Research Fellow of the Universidade de Brasilia 2017–2018
Head researcher(s): Cláudia Linhares Sanz