The end of what do the narratives of the end of education tell about? Zdenko Kodelja
Summary: The narrative of education as one of the fundamental humanistic concepts is one of the grand narratives that Lyotard predicted would end in the postmodern era, the time importantly defined by the end of grand narratives. But we must stop to ask ourselves the end of what this and some other narratives of the end of education actually are. The article, therefore, attempts to show, at least roughly, that there are at least three possible answers to the question, each based on a different understanding of education and its specific historical and theoretical backgrounds. The main purpose of the article, however, is not to give a definite answer to the question. On the contrary, its purpose is to defend and justify the very raising of the question. For it may seem that the answer is obvious, as the narratives appear to be about the end of education understood as Bildung. But the problem is precisely in the fact that the different theories – discussed in the article – of the end of education presuppose it is clear what the education denoted by the term Bildung means. Accordingly, they only contend with the analyses and interpretations of the reasons for its end. Although each in its turn offers fairly convincing arguments to support the thesis of the end of education, it still seems they are only valid for the notion of education as it is accepted within the context of each individual theory. That is to say, these arguments cannot also be said to prove the general thesis of the end of education understood as Bildung.