Criticality, creativity... & catatonia
Beighton, C. 2018. Criticality, creativity... & catatonia.
In October 2017, Conservative politician Chris Heaton-Harris wrote to universities in England asking for details of their teaching of politics. It was subsequently claimed that he was carrying out “research” for a book about the politically volatile issue of Britain’s leaving the European Union (“Brexit”) (BBC, 2017). The intervention has been described as an unwarranted McCarthyite interference with freedom of speech, reminding us that the right to criticality in higher education institutions (HEIs) can never be taken for granted. With this in mind, I discusse the concept of transversality in an attempt to refresh the debate on critical pedagogies in the increasingly globalised delivery of higher education (HE).
Writing from the perspective of higher education provision in England, I first discuss the use of the term by Félix Guattari, before drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s use of the concept in connection with learning as a critical apprenticeship in signs. This analysis allows me to use a Deleuzo-Guattarian transversal ontology to critique drives for excellence, social mobility and student choice in higher education. I highlight connections between these increasingly ubiquitous demands and wider global trends of prosumption, liquefaction and dividualisation. Referring to the nature of this transversality in this connection, I stress the differential operation of critical practices which emphasise productive forms of criticality and creativity in HE. Transversality therefore provides an impetus and a model for higher learning as a creative, rather than repetitive, catatonic process.
|Conference||Annual Teaching and Learning Conference 2018|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||31 May 2018|
|Completed||18 Feb 2018|
|Accepted||18 Feb 2018|
|Accepted author manuscript|
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