The Eternal Return? Or only a gate?
From Chapter 5 of Educational Research undone: Dilemmas in the deconstruction of educational discourse-, there is an example of how a critical analysis of an educational policy of vocationalism sat within a ‘policy hysteria’. The interesting thing about this chapter was how the analysis of the policy was framed within three types of analysis – ‘constructing policy hysteria’, ‘deconstruction’ and re-mobilizing critique’.
My gaze was attracted to the deconstruction of the idea of ‘policy hysteria’ as follows pg92:-
But the line of argument is clear: at every instant of trying to talk of movement, we have whispered about order, propriety, normality, stability. Our stories of shift, displacement and rotation contain repressed fantasies of devices for keeping things in place and curbing excess. They also establish a commentary box from where researchers can confidently pronounce. We have constructed, in other words, a full-blown ‘metaphysics of presence’ – the characteristic turn of Western thinking/philosophizing, according to Derrida, in which analysis becomes: ‘the enterprise of returning “strategically”, in idealization, to an origin or to a “priority” seen as simple, intact, normal, pure, standard, self-identical, in order then to conceive of… derivation, complication, deterioration, accident etc’ (Derrida, 1977:236).
Thus if I attempt to deconstruct “Transformation of Learning”, by focusing on the idea of movement that even the title suggests, that I have already constructed an ideal of stability of where the transformation is going. In this case am I essentially using enlightenment or emancipation of my role in the process of transformation? Thus the enterprise and my involvement in it is a ruse to generate a new stability built upon my own ideals of education realises through technology, a new old system with the same old new failings? The deconstruction as highlighted is about disappointment and my role in that disappointment, but this should not be seen in a negative sense.
The third reading ‘re-mobilizing critique’ starts to move towards a method of deconstruction which sites the outcome in a positive frame by adjusting the expectations of the deconstruction.
The passage quotes Liska pg93
deconstruction has to hold in play ‘an opposition to an overturning deconstruction and a positively displacing, transgressive deconstruction.
Further the deconstruction seeks to ‘unfreeze’ the ‘elements of stability’ trying no to produce a ‘definitive account’, to ‘avoid the privileging of one or other aspect of dichotomizing analysis’. In doing this process the result would be an ever changing account of the elements of the deconstruction, there is no result,no output, no answer; just a commentary at a specific time and place one with a current flux of relationships, communications and ideals, one which can change continuously; the purpose is to acknowledge this. Perhaps Neitzschre’s Zarathrusta would define this at the gate of “eternal return”, but in the sense that the gate is always in a new place, an eternal research, continuous analysis of where we are now, rather than where we are going, where we have been. The road may appear to stretch to and from eternity, but the roads are an illusion, there is only the gate.