Gintautas Mažeikis

Learning between opposite poles: Hegel‘s “History of the Spirit” and Deleuze‘s “Becoming minor”

School and university learning based on the big narratives seeks present history (World, Nation, literature, sciences …) as the truth of big processes, grand rivers. The contradictions of the historical forces are presented as much more powerful than existential human choice. The right side (post side) of the history of the Spirit, Nation, and a Political class presupposes moral and juridical legitimation of individual actions (to be Lithuanian but not red partisan). The approach of big narratives hides difficulties of local alternatives and important of social and political creativity. On the contrary, the Deleuzian “Becoming minor” emphasizes the roles of local relationship, the importance of “the home made social glue”, political and cultural microphysics.  The individual choice, creativity and responsibility are the main figures in the everyday life development. Deleuzian approach helps to describe individual drama and to think Human condition (in the sense of Hannah Arendt).

The paper is devoted to the conflict between two main paradigms of contemporary learning/teaching: or the logic of world history, or infinitesimal of everyday dramas. The logic of big pictures presupposes ideologization, mobilization and global learning from the main historical processes. World history, panoramic pictures of events, civilizational visions are prevailing in the case. Vice versa, poststructural approach invites for the rhizomatic attention to the local networks and desires. Rhizomatic means to considered multiplicity of curved relationships, drama of local transgressions and transformations. The approach helps to understand development of small stories, local urban and rural events, and the multiplicity of them. ~The World History helps to hide local initiatives and demotivate people from making of social glue. The World Spirit and local consistencies pretend to be completely independent and even ignore each other. Is there antagonism, dialectical negation between the two models? Learning of critical thinking is based on presentation of the alternatives and description of the contradictions, but between what? Or between two major world forces: totalitarianism and Western democracy? Or is it between major tendencies of modernization and local traditions? The presentation of local multiplicities and everyday life oppositions, for example cultural trends or communities building, hides the role of global processes. How to coordinate the local learning of the genealogy of relationships, which is important for families, urban, tribe stories,  and studies of major World subordinations, strong causalities?

The paper presents idea, that teaching of critical thinking could be based on the learning alternative paradigms based on the demonstration of opposite tendencies between everyday life and history, and on the studies of different types of interpretations. The learning of opposite interpretations and related paradigms is used in the postmodern anthropology and sociology and pays attention to the multidimensional alternatives. Could we include poststructural paradigms and critical theory into critical pedagogy? And what does mean learning of emancipation in poststructural way? Is this too difficult a task for school: independent learning alternatives and becoming minor?

Gintautas Mažeikis is professor in Vytautas Magnus university, Kaunas, Lithuania.