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

conference contribution
posted on 2002-01-01, 00:00 authored by Noel Gough
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.

History

Event

Australian Association for Research in Education. Conference (2002 : Brisbane, Queensland)

Pagination

1 - 12

Publisher

Australian Association for Research in Education

Location

Brisbane, Queensland

Place of publication

Coldstream, Vic.

Start date

2002-12-01

End date

2002-12-05

ISSN

1324-9320

Language

eng

Publication classification

E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed

Copyright notice

2002, AARE

Editor/Contributor(s)

P Jeffery

Title of proceedings

AARE 2002 : Problematic futures : educational research in an era of uncertainty ; AARE 2002 conference papers

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