Jerry Zaslove's manifesto presents the 1960's
generation of middle-class students and fugitives as leaders in the idea of a
Utopian education in universities. This cultural movement soon became a
myth in our society because of its easy access to parody (which can be seen in
many movies such as The Big Lebowsky and Pulp Fiction).
The movement was soon made to perform a one-dimensional society. Universities were
once places for privileged students, but with the growing need for ultra-mass
universities, the system has found itself in a position where they had to make
place for the middle-class students. But still the Utopian impulse to create a
radical pedagogy in our institutions has not yet disappeared.
Universities were considered sanctuaries for
thought in the early 1960's, this eventually changed. Zaslove mentions Paul
Goodman's desire that communities should be
human-centered and should
counter the isolated society who live in poverty, dependence and brutality.
Eventually releasing this society from wrongful authorities. Goodman also disputes
that students who are aware of intellectual work lead to many different
relationships amongst the university students, for example, leading to social
transformation. Sociologists did not think that students could have a role in
politics; they soon found, however, that students had an important role in the
development of industries. Students found themselves in crisis. They felt that
universities were training them to reinforce the economy of scale, making it
harder for poorer countries to have a better economy. This created a barrier that
blocked the exploitation of cultural capital. Classrooms became not sanctuaries of
pedagogy, but of fleeting experiences, that outside of the classroom could not
easily be reproduced. The war slowly made its way into the classroom, this was
brought about during the Vietnam War. Students were confronted with the idea that
the professors were conniving with the system. Young people thought that they
could change the system by mastering the past but this did not last. When the war
ended the student movement slowly broke off. It is still present, but it moved
into different disciplines. The student movement was moved by the desire for a
radical pedagogical turn, especially the desire to make universities accessible to
more students. This is when the mass of culture and knowledge of industry finally
met. The economy needed universities to broaden their horizons, creating places
for new students but also new knowledge and classes.
Zaslove compares our universities to Wal-Mart,
calling it the Wal-Martiversity. It is the idea that all knowledge is now under
one roof. He argues that the students should not feel as if they are clients who
identify completely with the system. Universities have become a place of
excellence, making the intellectual more important than the knowledge and
experiences. Universities changed everything into performance indicators. But
there is no discussion about what is considered knowledge in the universities. The
older generation soon discovered that the United States were keen on manipulating
public opinion about the Vietnam War. This was the system leaders are trying to
create in the universities; they are finding ways to recycle the 1960's patterns
and creating new disciplines that will eventually create the
University. Universities' main goal is to provide career opportunities, but
also survival skills. They have created a system that has made knowledge available
in any quantity and size, but has no grounding center. Zazlove states that we must
refuse the idea of the obsolete intellectual that is seen in the university
professor. The classroom should be a place outside the system that allows for
exploration and experiences.
Universities claim their humanity and progress but still are not open for people living in camps and ghettos. But, according to Zaslove, the exiled culture is what may be missing from the universities, because they see beyond the university borders, unlike the neo-students that sees the world through what the system show them. The modern university concentrates its forces into training students for today without thinking about the future. The administration fees are justified by the idea that, for progress, money is needed. Knowledge is no longer the main goal, but rather the idea that work is waiting at the end of the journey. Universities exploit the idea that labour and social suffering is acceptable together if it means having an acceptable job. For the few students who are able to get in it, neo-students are both inside and outside the state's desire to make knowledge accessible.
Zaslove goes on to give ideas for solutions to the problem. He states that universities should be broken up into smaller institutions, making the system less of a metropolitan idea of education community, but rather experiencing with a helping and smaller community. Polytechniques should be created with access to liberal studies programs and critical studies. Creating classes that are not filled with air, but rather classes filled with appropriate knowledge and experiences. Then society should not lean on the university for our cultural mediator. It should not decide what our culture is made of. Rather, the students must learn that our culture changes and should change. Non-traditional institutions should be created, institutions that allows creative and expressive forms that are completely free from the oppression of society. He also adds that controversial models of pedagogy should be taught at every level of education. A model of mutual aid and invention should be used and taught to students. Finally, social sciences, humanities and technologically oriented programs should automatically include internships and should include a cooperative model in the classroom and outside the classroom. For a better understanding of society, students should be forced to work and experience outside of the classroom with their own society but also societies outside their own comfort. He ends his suggestions by reminding us that there is not only one community, but rather a multitude of communities creating alliances and engaging in a common social goal.
Zaslove concludes by reminding us that for this
utopian ideology to be created common values are required. The community's
idea that the state is the only mediator of the institution should be undone. We
should not forget that universities have slowly become part of the market system.
We should be reminded that all human should be allowed access to knowledge and
that poverty or immigration should not be a wall between the students and
education. Education is still a war between the power of the market and the
Exiled Pedagogy: From the 'Guerilla' Classroom to the University of Success. Utopian Pedagogy, Radical Experiments against Neo Liberal Globalization. Cote, Mark, Richard J.F. Day, and Greig de Peuter, eds. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007. 93-107. Print.