Posthuman Openings: looking beyond technology instrumentalism

Jeremy Knox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this chapter I will argue that open education is constrained by an underlying adherence to the humanist subject; a framework which separates human beings from technology, and establishes them as the exclusive source of intention and agency. I will contend that a more productive sense of ‘openness’ might be gained from the perspectives of critical posthumanism and sociomaterial theory, concepts which challenge the dominance of the humanist subject and point to the distributed agencies of entangled human and non-human relational processes. I will begin with discussing the deep-rooted relationship between humanism and education, and show how the burgeoning open education movement is drawing on such principles to justify its position. Much of the promotion of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) appears to adopt an overtly humanist discourse, where technology purportedly serves to emancipate participants through self-directed study. I will highlight two specific examples of MOOC activity, which provide useful ways of discussing instrumental and sociomaterial approaches to technology. Firstly, a video tour of a university campus building and its subsequent discussion, and secondly, the algorithmic processes of the social media service YouTube.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy and Theory of Open Education
EditorsMarkus Deimann, Michael Peters
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Publication series

NameGlobal Studies in Education
PublisherPeter Lang


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