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Review article


Alen Tafra

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The spread of universal compulsory education is one of the most important changes that has been brought about by democracy. This is why the reflection on the present educational crisis calls to be placed within the larger context of "spiritual condition" that we have been living in for two centuries. The critique of universal education is hence from its very beginning related to the critique of phenomena like secularization, individualism, egalitarianism, mass culture and mass media (Nietzsche, Eliot, Hamsun, Spengler, Heidegger, Jaspers, Toynbee etc.). "The second individualistic revolution" as "the second phase of the consumer society" (Lipovetsky) points towards the contemporary exhaustion of even "revolutionary" alternatives. Yet the "consumer co-operative" liberal cultural paradigm - as the "production of consumers" (Bauman) – does not infuse enough confidence in the capacity of western societies to produce individuals that are indispensable for their perpetuation. Namely, the consumerist and conformist characteristics of youth culture make cool pedagogic endeavours suspicious (Arendt, Lorenz, Bloom, Lasch, Sennett, Scruton, Baudrillard, Castoriadis, Bruckner, Finkielkraut, de Benoist, Gehlen, Sloterdijk, Terkessidis etc.). The new visual culture and the new sources of information may also produce the new kinds of youth entertainment as well as the old "Alexandrianism". Thus the aspiration about interdisciplinary science on education must confront its long shadow: the critique of the entire "Sensate" (Sorokin) sociocultural system. This is the relevant condition of each optimistic educational prospective - which this field urgently calls for.


Alexandrism; critique of education; educational pessimism

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