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Democracy, global transitions, and education : using speculative fictions as thought experiments in anticipatory critical inquiry

Gough, Noel 2002, Democracy, global transitions, and education : using speculative fictions as thought experiments in anticipatory critical inquiry, in AARE 2002 : Problematic futures : educational research in an era of uncertainty ; AARE 2002 conference papers, Australian Association for Research in Education, Coldstream, Vic., pp. 1-12.

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Title Democracy, global transitions, and education : using speculative fictions as thought experiments in anticipatory critical inquiry
Author(s) Gough, Noel
Conference name Australian Association for Research in Education. Conference (2002 : Brisbane, Queensland)
Conference location Brisbane, Queensland
Conference dates 1 - 5 December 2002
Title of proceedings AARE 2002 : Problematic futures : educational research in an era of uncertainty ; AARE 2002 conference papers
Editor(s) Jeffery, Peter L.
Publication date 2002
Start page 1
End page 12
Publisher Australian Association for Research in Education
Place of publication Coldstream, Vic.
Summary The purpose of a thought experiment, as the term was used by quantum and relativity physicists in the early part of the twentieth century, was not prediction (as is the goal of classical experimental science), but more defensible representations of present 'realities'. Indeed, one of the best-known examples of a thought experiment ('Schrodinger's cat') demonstrates the impossibility of prediction at the quantum level. Speculative fictions, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to the Star Wars saga, can be read as socio-technical thought experiments that can help us to apprehend and comprehend present 'realities' and uncertainties, and to anticipate and critique possible futures. In this paper I will demonstrate how two examples of popular speculative fictions, Frank Herbert's Dune (1965) and Ursula Le Guin's The Telling (2000), can be read as thought experiments that describe problematic aspects of contemporary social and cultural transformations. I will argue that critical and deconstructive readings of these novels can help us to produce anticipatory critiques of possible ways in which democratic institutions are being transformed by globalisation. I will conclude by considering the implications of such anticipatory critiques for generating questions, problems and issues in educational inquiry and for choosing appropriate methodologies for investigating them.
ISSN 1324-9320
Language eng
Field of Research 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
Copyright notice ©2002, AARE
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30013853

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Social and Cultural Studies in Education
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