Postmodern Education and the Concept of Power



This article presents a discussion of how postmodernist, poststructuralist and critical educational thinking relate to different theories of power. I argue that both Critical Theory and some poststructuralist ideas base themselves on a concept of power borrowed from a modernist tradition. I argue as well that we are better off combining a postmodern idea of education with a postmodern idea of power. To this end the concept of power presented by the works of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe is introduced. This concept controverts a number of major educational concepts, i.e. concepts such as causality, autonomy, subjectivity and originality. In other words, it allows us to take a fresh look at old concepts. Finally, I relate the discussion to a number of recent theories of learning.