Economic precarity, modern liberal arts and creating a resilient graduate

Adam J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

From the perspective of a recent graduate, this article offers a critique of non-STEM higher education in England as unfit for purpose. Whilst universities blindly focus on employability, transferable skills and narrow bands of subject knowledge, the economic world around them has collapsed into absurdity. The graduate today is now faced with economic, social and cultural precarity which is unreflected in the rigid structures and narrow focus of their degree. This article seeks a radical return to the ancient principles of a liberal arts education. Far from this being regressive, I argue that this education can and should be reclaimed and reinvigorated by the flexibility, difficulty and complexity of modern philosophy. Drawing on both Zygmunt Bauman’s liquid modernity and Nigel Tubbs' modern metaphysics, this article argues that higher education is far from obsolete but that its continuing relevance in late Capitalism can only arise from a return to the questions of how graduates can best thrive in the economic world after graduation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Education

Cite this

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Economic precarity, modern liberal arts and creating a resilient graduate. / Smith, Adam J.

26.06.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - From the perspective of a recent graduate, this article offers a critique of non-STEM higher education in England as unfit for purpose. Whilst universities blindly focus on employability, transferable skills and narrow bands of subject knowledge, the economic world around them has collapsed into absurdity. The graduate today is now faced with economic, social and cultural precarity which is unreflected in the rigid structures and narrow focus of their degree. This article seeks a radical return to the ancient principles of a liberal arts education. Far from this being regressive, I argue that this education can and should be reclaimed and reinvigorated by the flexibility, difficulty and complexity of modern philosophy. Drawing on both Zygmunt Bauman’s liquid modernity and Nigel Tubbs' modern metaphysics, this article argues that higher education is far from obsolete but that its continuing relevance in late Capitalism can only arise from a return to the questions of how graduates can best thrive in the economic world after graduation.

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