chapter  3
14 Pages

Communicative Utopia and Political Re-education

ByMARIANNA PAPASTEPHANOU

Minimally defi ned, utopia is a vision of collective life as it might or should be (Buber 1985, 30). Such a desirable life is not yet attained, but it is possible as a future reality if certain major changes take place. Thus seen, utopia presupposes the pliability of humanity, the possibility to escape an absolute immanence qua immersion in the here and now and the ecstatic experience of refl ection as growth and emancipation. These presuppositions bring utopia very close to education understood beyond the confi nes of a socially adaptive and reproductive institution. For education too relies on the plasticity of the educated self, the possibility of individual and societal redirection through learning experiences and the ecstasy (i.e. the overcoming of stagnation) that is activated through lifelong search for knowledge. In fact, utopia and education do not just converge; they complement one another. Utopia requires a critical and transformative education that will cultivate a reformed citizenship. The education that is not harnessed to systemic imperatives and is not narrowly conceived as a societal mechanism of control requires a vision of a desirable world in order to have a sense of direction and an ideal regulating its practices.