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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Modern education in postmodern times: British Columbia’s community colleges at the fin de millennium Falk, Cliff


The sureness of the modern educational project has been undermined by shifting epistemological and material conditions. The shift from modernity to postmodernity develops its own incongruencies and anomalies as well as highlighting those extant during modernity. Institutions like British Columbia's community colleges cling to the artifacts of modernity, leaving postmodern environments and discourse unacknowledged. This study applies rhetorical strategies, devices and the methodologies of literature and poststructural social studies, including the use of deliberate ambiguity and unstable signification, to write in opposition to the plain prose privileged by the technical instrumentality of mainstream adult education discourse in the North American academy. This de-centring of traditional academic discourse reframes and challenges prevailing constructions of Canada, education in Canada and community colleges in British Columbia. Exhuming and exposing some of the operational myths of modernity as they found expression in Canada through academic discourse and quotidian practice while offering an alternate story is the means by which my narrative proceeds. This re-storying, in turn, is used as a strategy to challenge modern mainstream educational and educational administrative practice, while attempting to normalize ways of seeing community colleges in British Columbia based outside of modernist orthodoxies.

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