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Giovani, studenti e infiniti mondi

Vol. 10 No. 2 (2019): Giovani, studenti e infiniti mondi

Trasformazioni sociali, affettivizzazione della sfera pubblica e ricerca di senso

novembre 4, 2019


Western societies are crossed by a plurality of critical phenomena. The perception is that of being grappled with an uncontrollable anthropological drift, which make us powerless, leading towards a point of no return. A constitutive character of such a drift is the enslaving of the public spheres to the affects (i.e. affectivization). Any public affair and discussion is less and less addressed in terms of functional criteria (i.e. in terms of optimization of utility in reason of objective data) and more and more as the trigger as well as the target of affective acting-out.  Such a dynamics challenges all individuals and institutions that think that civilization and progress are a matter of the human efforts to enslave the affective exercise of the present moment to the capacity of the reason to draw futurables. Education – and higher education within it – is at the front line of this challenge, because it is up to it the effort of promoting the symbolic resources that enables people to succeed in the twofold task of valorizing subjectivity and enslaving its affective substance to aims of social and civic progress. The present paper intends to contribute to address such a challenge. To this end, it proposes an interpretation of the affectivization spreading the contemporary social landscape, based on current debate in cognitive sciences. On this grounds, the general idea that such a phenomenon is something different from and more than a mere epidemy of irrationality - as it is more or less implicitly treated by observers and analysts-  is deepened. Following that, strategic and methodological implications for higher education are discussed. It is called for an extension of the function of higher education, in the direction of  taking charge of the demand of symbolic resources required to address the uncertainty generated by the contemporary socio-institutional turmoil.


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