Civilization, ideology, education. Prolegomena to the analysis of interrelations
The article is an attempt to formulate initially the questions relating to the role and functions of ideology and education in the process of civilization change. On different stages and in different varieties of civilization development ideologies (in the narrow sense of the notion) can support the development of some civilization forms or be the reason for their decay or even failure. Educational ideologies are the special cases of the so-called particular ideologies. To what extent such phenomena as: the ideologization of the educational sphere in Poland both in the previous and in the present socio-political systems, politicization and inefficient management, and recently the shake-ups of both grass-roots and top-down (also internal and external) initiatives appropriated by different political options in the educational discourse are the Polish specificity, and to what extent are they general mechanisms of influence of the prevalent educational ideology?
Ideologies stimulate the processes of collective identities construction which are, according to S. Eisenstadt, the processes of civilizations development. Ideologies exert a strong influence on what we include in the collective (social) identity, what we think we have in common with other people, groups or communities and what distinguishes them from us.
Education is an infrastructure of social integration, as well as a system transmitting ideologies, though its functions and role are perceived differently in different civilizations or in particular civilization forms. It is quite oft en treated as a secondary element, without realizing how important it is in the context of civilization continuity but with the emphasis on its short-term ideological function: shaping consciousness according to the dominant interest groups (power elites). A question appears whether the way to explain the world in educational process does or does not strengthen collective consciousness in the frame of particular civilization forms.
Ideologies can be both stimulators or inhibitors of civilization development. Are contemporary ideologies of education the former or the latter? To what extent are they original or returning to the concepts earlier that neoliberal ones, and to what extent are they symptoms of post-modernity or of the end of great ideologies?