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9991 - The role of education in societal transformation processes - the example of Bolivarian Venezuela

The paper will focus on the central research question in which way education impacts societal transformation processes oriented towards (more) egalitarien societies. Field of research is education, in particular education policy, as part of the current Bolivarian process in Venezuela.

The paper will explore whether the educational measures introduced under the Bolivarian government of Venezuela will be sufficient to break with capitalist education, following A. Gramsci, Critical Pedagogy and P. Bourdieu in conceiving capitalist education as a major mechanism of capitalism to reproduce social stratification.

The working hypothesis sustains that quantitative and/or limited qualitative measures cannot nullify one of the major functions of capitalist education, i.e. to allocate people to determined social classes or groups.

As a second, but connected aspect, the paper will explore education as a means for transformation, i.e. whether and if so to what extent societal hegemony is build through education (following a Gramscian concept of hegemony).

Here, the working hypothesis sustains that informal education – the informal transmission of social norms, values, attitudes and behaviours – is at least as important in creating hegemony as the contents imparted through the formal education system. Furthermore, the hypothesis sustains that the creation of hegemony necessitates a broad politisation process of those excluded from political power. However, direct educational measures (political education) seem definitely less useful to achieve this politisation than informal education in terms of constructing new collective norms, values and attitudes, including a new collective conception of education.

Keywords: education, societal transformation, Venezuela, Bolivarian Process

Author: Langthaler, Margarita (University of Vienna, Austria / Österreich)

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