Lifelong Yearning: Feminist Pedagogy in the Learning Society
Feminist pedagogy for empowerment has always occupied a precarious position in Higher Education. This chapter argues that human capital theory, stressing the causal links between education and national prosperity and international competitiveness, is a major driver in educational policy. It focuses on utilitarianism and applied knowledges is often packaged in democratised concepts such as the ‘Learning Society’ and ‘Lifelong Learning’. The overhaul of Higher Education is part of the modernisation project, originated by the Conservative Government and continued by New Labour. Feminist and critical pedagogies wish us to recognise, engage and critique any existing undemocratic social practices and institutional structures that produce and sustain inequalities and oppressive social identities. Feminist pedagogy is resource intensive and can challenge learners in ways which are no longer compatible with commodified, industrialised relationships in the academy. New managerialism, quality and the drive towards measurement and outcomes represents a new form of organisational masculinity for feminist educators to negotiate.