In contemporary popular culture, Australia’s cities and suburbs are places where children are aborted, abandoned, exploited, murdered or never conceived. Like the bush-lost children before them, these “at risk” young people symbolise adult fears of self, society, and the future. My concern is that the most common public policy response to these persistent fears and insecurities is to retreat to a politics of complexity reduction. Many politicians and public opinion leaders see teachers and schools as being in the vanguard of people and institutions dedicated to Australian children’s educational ruin, and simplistically seek to “protect” them with blunt instruments such as back-to-phonics literacy and a national curriculum. I argue that Australia’s young people are much more seriously endangered by the symbolic violence of those who position them as docile receptors of whatever schools and teachers serve up to them, and who treat them as passive screens upon which to project their own anxieties.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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