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Lecture 13

CS351 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Instrumental And Value Rationality, Liberal Democracy, Consumerism

Communication Studies
Course Code
Jeff Heydon

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Lecture 13
Culture and Education
-Nineteenth and early twentieth-century ideas of democracy assumed a pedagogical
understanding of politics
-One was never born political even if it were thought that every human being had the capacity of
the potential to take part in political life
-It was assumed that becoming a citizen, possessing and exercising rights called for appropriate
forms of education
-Societies were understood to have both high and low forms of culture
-Education provided the capacity for discernment- access to high culture- that the citizen
-A crucial aspect of this education was the capacity for abstract conceptualization and reasoning
-The book became the key object to embodying this assumption
-The importance given to the written language as the medium go instruction signified the high
place accorded in this mode of thought to the trained, human capacity for abstraction
-Abstract reasoning made it possible for the citizen to conceptualize such imaginary entities as
class, public or national interest and adjudicate between competing claims
Being Political
-In this conception that has increasingly dominated debates in and about public life in
democracies since the 1960s, to be human is to be already political
-Statements such as “everything is political” or “the personal is political” are reflections of this
point of view
-The spread of consumerism and the mass media has been an inextricable part of this search
for forms of mass democracy
-For the rise of the mass-consumer and the question of his or her rights- a growing concern of
capitalist democracies- entailed both understandings of the political
-The consumer is a subject of pedagogy. She or he is routinely taught many of his or her rights
-There are associates and journals that aim to do just that. But the right of a consumer to
choose or refuse a product (for whatever reason) is a basis right, independent of education in
these rights
-Like the university, the museum also has had to accept that education and entertainment are
not opposed to each other
-But museums, for reasons I go into below, have been more affected by the process than
-They have had to embrace the proposition that their clientele have choice and their preferences
need to be addressed; that education will largely have to pay for itself and that state funding will
have to be supplemented by endowments and revenue
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