The humanist tradition in Western education systems is increasingly coming under critical scrutiny by posthumanist scholars, arguing that Enlightenment humanism accommodates a number of serious shortcomings such as being essentialist, exclusive, and unable to meet its own criteria of value pluralism, tolerance, and equity for all. This article formulates some challenges posed to formal education by posthumanist theory, addressing international education policymaking for social change. Based on an analysis of a number of education policy documents produced by UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Bank, the European Commission, and the Nordic Council of Ministers, it elicits five pervasive ideas about the relationship between education and social change that are frequently appearing in contemporary rhetoric of education policymaking: ‘the knowledge society’; ‘the democratic society’; ‘the multicultural society’; ‘the globalized society’ and ‘the sustainable society’. Inspired by critical discourse analysis, the article identifies a number of research questions focused on each of these five ideas and explores possible responses, inflected by a range of recent cross-disciplinary posthumanist scholarship, that deconstruct conventional assumptions about the idea of education in general and of education policymaking in particular. It concludes with a discussion of what subject positions and repertoires are, or are not, allowed to emerge in education policymaking for social change.
Humanities/Social Sciences Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education::International education Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS