The Stepford Nannies: How “Choice Architecture” is Building a Perfect Society by Paul Whittaker

Over the last few years a methodology of social control has emerged whose claims of effectiveness, despite being rather modest in some respects, still appear to represent a significant breakthrough in the ability of governments to make society behave in the manner in which they desire. This methodology is known as Nudge Theory and it has been embraced on both sides of the Atlantic by David Cameron and Barak Obama and the craze seems to be spreading to other European countries.
Read more…

Censorship, Surveillance & Mass Infantilization by Paul Whittaker

Once upon a time we could rely on the Tories to lambast any suspicious examples of the nanny-state as quickly as they could identify them, but now, at the behest of the Daily-Mail they have concocted the most definitively nanny-state concept of all time: a system to filter the internet in order to protect the children (along with everyone else) from internet pornography.
In the wake of the Snowden leaks it is surprising how little concern and scrutiny David Cameron & Claire Perry’s attempt to install a massive censorship and surveillance program has attracted. Another piece of the puzzle which has received little comment is that this is not Cameron’s first attempt to tame the unruly internet. As well as the (rather flimsy) blockade on torrent sites there was an abortive attempt back in 2011 after the widespread rioting triggered by the police murder of Mark Duggan. Read more…

Learning How to Survive Outcomes and Measurements Culture

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them” – Albert Einstein


The above quote was an ominous introduction to a paper which came to shape educational practice across the world.  In 1995, Robert B Barr and John Tagg at Palomar College in San Marcos, California demanded “a new paradigm for undergraduate education”.  Their famous paper From Teaching to Learning – A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education” was published in Change magazine.

Read more…

The Financialisation of Education

We live in interesting times.  All sorts of changes are happening to long established institutions in the United Kingdom, particularly so in the education sector.  Having been working alongside academics who are interested in doing public engagement work, as well as with people in the broad community and independent entrepreneurs, I have notice a trend in concerns in all vocational sectors.

Lately I was directed towards the Novara program on Resonance FM….

Read more…

Why Are We Here? By Adam Smyth

Empire magazine’s latest interview with director Ridley Scott about his new film ‘Prometheus’ forces us to return to perhaps the biggest question of our entire existence: Why are we here?

Before I write any feature no matter how varied it is I like to jot down the basic journalistic principles (who, what, when where, how and why) at the top of the page. This is so that I don’t become distracted by tangential thoughts that are fighting to be recognised in my article. With this Goliath question though, it’s hard not to deviate from off-shooting insights and reflections that bring real value to the table. Read more…