Alan Sears, Retooling the Mind Factory: Education in a Lean State

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  • Topic: History of education, Education, Higher education
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  • Published : April 21, 2009
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Topic: Alan Sears, Retooling the Mind Factory: Education in a Lean State Abstract
One of the neo-liberal reform agenda is the “lean state”. The lean concept involves every aspect of social changes. This paper will begin discussing the effects of lean state in education reform. Then, it will expand any dramatic changes according to neo-liberal agenda. These changes require to be built upon the most efficient production system the lean production. As a result, the education reform will have a certain impact on other levels of social changes from individuals to cultural scales.

The lean state concept
The lean state is the social platform that supports the capitalist restructuring processes by means of lean production methods. The core of lean production is to eliminate the waste down to the minimum level and yet increase the productivity and efficiency. To reduce the waste, the lean production requires a large number of polarized workforces working in the low cost without any security. This working condition requires a new form of workspaces and disciplines. As a result, the lean production leads to education reform since education system has built a future competent workforce for the lean world (Sears, Page 2). In order to have an understanding about the education in lean state, we need to discuss about the education in broad welfare state.

The education system in broad welfare state
The compulsory education system in Ontario is one of powerful examples of bringing citizens into the embrace of the state (Sears, Page 30). Citizenship acts as a bridge that connects an individual and the state together. Citizenship is consisted of many disciplines that define the freedom and equality in terms of political rights (Sears, Page 32). Citizenship is a rich form of disciplines that revolves around precision and thoroughness. Citizenship has a strong connection with the balance of rights and obligations (Sears, Page 88) or the conception of freedom with submission.

Formal education prepares citizens for the particular combination of freedom and submission (Sears, Page 33). This combination is the foundation of the neutral standpoint the national culture. This national culture is the major component in the capitalist state development and usually is associated with the educational optimism about shaping the population. The development of national cultures has been an important component of capitalist state of formation, providing a basis for the development of communities out of heterogeneous and divided population (Sears, Page 94) The education optimism in broad welfare state about shaping the population is not only in the realm of formal education but also in rehabilitation and reform. Formal education plays a crucial role in the elevation of literacy over other forms of interchange. Basically, formal education is a process of formalizing a numerous of common sense and informal learning into a state schooling. Sears defined a school as a physical and cultural space in which classroom combines individuation with a collective body. Student interacts with others as an individual with membership in a collaborative group (Sears, Page 34).

The state education is a contradiction system with the set of complex relations between universality and difference (Sears, Page 133). The capitalist state is compelled by a constantly process of struggle and resistance. The state education system in the capitalism also has a numerous number of resistances from both within and outside of education institutions (Sears, Page 35). By analyzing the education resistance, we will understand the basic and complexity of the development of state education (Sears, Page 37). Sears has shown us the development of formal education from before broad welfare state to the end of education growth period. The education system is a crucial component such that it was predated the welfare state. Beside the drive of education is to build the...
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