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Professional Life and Work

Professional Knowledge, Professional Lives: studies in education and change

Educational Research as a Public Intellectual

A hibernating collective memory grafted to a pragmatic programme of research and evaluation in a hostile world might summarise CARE in the 1990s.  Like Sartre throughout his life, CARE appeared to be waiting...

The dominant motif of CARE in the 1990s was a series of pragmatic projects still committed to and concerned with a basic vernacular humanism.  What was missing was the over arching social movement that had been provided through the post-war egalitarian project.  At one level one might say in post-modern fashion that all that was lost was a myth, a rhetoric of progress, a linear and unifying progress narrative, a masculinist, middle class, mid-life, meritocratic, mythological muddle passing itself off as a high moral purpose.

But as I hope I've showed, the egalitarian project moved beyond discourses to mobilise and motivate substantial and influential sections of British society.  We should therefore beware of limiting our understanding to discourse analysis and deconstruction for it would be to misread and misrepresent a major period of reconstruction and struggle in British public life.  The collective memory of that struggle still provides ‘resources for hope’ as we face the need to build new programmes and projects for millennial Britain.  Specifically in CARE, the collective memory of humanistic egalitarianism remains strong and will infuse the search to reconstitute projects of social justice.

Re-Locating Public Education

So to summarise the previous section, the "we're all in it together" socialism of the post-war governments settled into a balanced partially egalitarian project until the mid-1970s.  This temporary political settlement (which covered both parties for a time) allowed educational researchers to conduct policy-linked public intellectual work.  It was the collapse of the egalitarian project which severed the link between public intellectual work and an overarching project of social justice.  Although the collapse has taken place over the last 20 years I believe we are only now beginning to face the implications and undertaking the task of re-building alliances and perspectives.

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Professional Knowledge, Professional Lives
  • Date of publication: 01/09/2003
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 160
  • Publisher: Open University Press
  • Subject:
    Professional Life and Work
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  • Appears in:
    Professional Knowledge, Professional Lives: studies in education and change
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  • Price of book: £23.99
  • ISBN: 9780335204113
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