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Accepted Paper:

The promises of neoliberal education: between technologies of the ‘future perfect’ and the ‘future conditional’  
Marisol Verdugo-Paiva (Diego Portales University, Chile)

Paper short abstract:

In public schools, promises that educational credentials are devices that effectively reduce future uncertainty and deliver better futures of upward social mobility are widely circulated, yet, they might take the form of different and sometimes conflicting temporalities.

Paper long abstract:

The relationship between education and future is growingly taken for granted. Beliefs that educational credentials are devices that effectively reduce future uncertainty and deliver better futures of upward social mobility are widely circulated in institutional and non-institutional settings. In the deindustrialised city of Concepción, in southern Chile, in particular, pervasive unemployment and credentialism have increasingly created anxieties in relation to the need for further education in order ‘to have a future’ and ‘to become somebody in life’ amongst young people and their families. At public (state) schools, these promises might take the form of different and sometimes conflicting temporalities. The school makes meritocratic promises in the form of the ‘future perfect’ tense: a predictable and continual progression by which the desired ‘objects’ of hope will certainly become achieved. In comparison to this forward-facing development, teachers considered students that are not interested (or seemed not to be interested) in education as being present-oriented and lacking long-term future temporal orientation. Instead, young people strategise and orient towards the future according to the grammatical metaphor of the ‘future conditional’: they orient towards certain goals, often educational, but they understand that their aspirations are contingent on volatile economic and political landscapes that often work against them. The specific temporal philosophy of contemporary schooling has been heightened by the creation of educational markets and an understanding of education as an individual investment that challenges ideas of public education as a common good.

Panel P149b
Future imagination, Time and Space: How the Future is being governed by technologies of Imagination in Different social and cultural contexts
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -