Educational extremism : the function and failure of radical theory
The thesis opens with a discussion of the need or otherwise for radical intervention in educational theory and practice, and the manner in which such, when it occurs, may be interpreted as 'extremism', seriously disabling any contribution that the radical might make. It is proposed that a series of confrontations with reality, in the form of specific incidents, comprise the fundamental building blocks of an individual's experience. An analysis is presented of the manner in which the confrontation between an individual and an incident develops; this includes the development of extremism. The resultant schema is of relevance to the entire thesis. Having argued that there is a real problem (when radicals, in confronting reality, see some people as marginalised and attempt to help them, they themselves are marginalised and rendered ineffectual), the thesis proceeds to look more closely at radicals. In an attempt to clarify the situation, a detailed description is offered of the factors responsible for the genesis of the radical: whence comes his or her philosophy? Notwithstanding the legitimacy (in the opinion of the thesis) of the radicals' reaction to reality, it appears, as has been noted, that their voices are not heard. The mechanisms that produce this deafness in society are discussed, and the manner in which many individuals who are aware of the unjust marginalisation of some groups nevertheless become passive and inert before a problem that is, they feel, too great for them. Fundamental to this inertia is the ultimate acceptance of a vision of the person which tolerates inequity and injustice so long as they are features of someone else's experience. Opposed to this inertia, radicals seek to accompany marginalised individuals and groups.