Art History Unstuffed. Jean-François Lyotard: “The Postmodern Condition,” Part Two

Jean-François Lyotard. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979)

Part Two, “Knowledge and Education,” of the three part series on of a three-part series on Jean-François Lyotard’s 1979 The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge was posted on April 11, 2014. This series proposes to re-write and re-consider the entire book in relation to the 21st century.

Most of this book is concerned with education and how education could be impacted by the computerization of knowledge. Although Lyotard’s extensive discussion on education and training was largely ignored by those interested in philosophy and theory, his extensive analysis of the new “performative” aspects to the acquisition of knowledge has been very influential to educators. Education, Lyotard stated responds to the needs of the current system.

If society was once imagined to be about the “self,” a metanarrative in itself, then the question becomes what does this new kind of social system demand of its denizens? What the system cares about, needs, demands, is performativity. More important is who runs (owns) or rules this system; in other words, who is in charge of information (knowledge)?

Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette

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