What is 'human' in human capital theory? Marking a transition from industrail to postindustrial education

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    Abstract

    This article addresses educational practice as a site for the development of human capital theory. The article considers metaphysical constructions that are broadly typical of educational thought, and shows how they are amenable to economic analysis. Using different Marxist and feminist methods, it discusses pedagogy and the family as kinds of investment. The author questions the underlying assumptions about humanity on which both economics and education are predicated. If Western educators are certain of the historical ends to which modern Western education aims, do they also fully appreciate the implications of their own certainty and confidence for the future? As educators, are we equally confident that we question ourselves about why we uphold the value of education in the way each of us does? To engage educators in a debate about these values, the article employs poststructuralist critique to place words and concepts central to education and economics, e.g. the market, under erasure. It questions the way in which idealizations of teaching and learning are seen as forms of production and exchange. The article contests the notion of ?humanity? advanced within a postindustrial era, and seeks to open a more prescient account of knowledge as a form of wealth, and schooling as a form of commerce.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55 - 77
    Number of pages23
    JournalOpen Review of Educational Research
    Volume2
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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