This is material which accompanies a presentation given at Liverpool John Moores University as a part of a module created by Craig Hammond and Angie Daly which focuses on informal education. I was asked to give different perspectives on education outside and beyond formal educational settings and the session was recorded which you can listen to. This articule is to accompany the discussion and provide some materials for reflection.
It is important to raise the general question of the mutual definition of human nature and the nature of institutions which characterizes our world view and language. Here Umberto Eco’s anthropological analysis suggests that if the term ‘culture’ is accepted in its correct anthropological sense, then we are immediately confronted with four elementary cultural phenomena. Not only are they the consistent phenomena of every culture but they have been singled out as the objects of various semi-anthropological studies in order to show that the whole of culture is signification and communication.
Humanity and society exist only when communicative and significative relationships are established. In semiotics, a sign is “something that stands for something, to someone in some capacity”. It may be understood as a discrete unit of meaning, and includes words, images, gestures, scents, tastes, textures, sounds – essentially all of the ways in which information can be communicated as a message by any sentient, reasoning mind to another. Read more
After being introduced to Ivan Illich as an educational thinker by two retired friends who were teachers, it raised so many questions in life that I have decided to create a series of digests on his famous book Deschooling Society. He is a thinker who demands being read, so if you have not encountered his thought I recommend you make a point to read his work firsthand and then prompt you to go and explore it yourself. This is the very spirit of Ivan Illich.