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An incredulity to grand narratives

“The article suggests that while Lyotard (1984) argued that the post-modern condition of knowledge was one of incredulity to grand narratives, this could be extended to an ontological condition, the lifelong learning condition. Here, even as they continue to be articulated ever more stridently, there is an incredulity to the notion that there are over-arching justifications for human existence. This arises not least because of the ecological and material uncertainties to which worldly human and non-human existence is subject, what Beck (1992) referred to as risk society. What I am suggesting is that Lyotard’s argument for the post-modern condition of knowledge points to the collapse of representationalism as an a priori way of being in the world and signifies a post-human condition of existence with significant implications for education and lifelong learning “(Edwards, 6).

I was struck by this notion of incredulity to grand narratives, much in the same way I was struck by the flaneur and births as stiff casts; essentially, they are limiting. Limiting in their liminality, their natural progression, limiting in what they allow for in terms of scope of inquiry and discovery. Why, however, must representationalism collapse? Isn’t representationalism a post-analysis presentation, a statement of learning after the fact? Not, as stated, an a priori of being in the world, but rather a mediation of human and non-human? 

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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