Resisting Ideological Colonisation

The emancipatory educators who have emerged from the realm of domination necessarily have often reflected on the prevailing contradictions of capitalism and the dominating elites and have communicated these reflections to those seeking emancipation. Yet, quite often, many have not yet fully and clearly realised their own entrapment in the ideologies that further domination. It takes time to critically recognise their externally assigned position inside contradictory relationships as found in managerial regimes. And, quite dangerously, some may still be in the position to exercise some level of adhesion to those furthering domination. On the other hand, it is quite conceivable that because of certain life experiences and objective managerial conditions—such as those experienced under domination and authoritarianism in the form of harsh and punishing schooling and managerial regimes—they have reached a relatively clear perception of their state of domination and the camouflaging ideologies that come with it.

In the scenario where people have not yet recognised their entrapment in the ideologies, the devotion—or at least partial linkage—of some students to Managerialism (ideology) and to those furthering domination (management) will make it unworkable for them to locate themselves

© The Author(s) 2017 T. Klikauer, Management Education, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-40778-4_10

“inside themselves” (being with themselves) as they remain guided by the dual forces of Managerialism (ideological) and management (structural violence). In the second scenario where this realisation has taken place, students can clearly locate those furthering domination and can therefore critically recognise their antagonistic relationship to them. In the first scenario, those furthering domination remain “above” the students and their resulting hierarchical thinking towards students— “I train you”— makes them reject human freedom and mutual and equal recognition. They resort to ideological justification, presenting distorted views of management and, when things go wrong, quite fatalistically, transfer their managerial responsibility to those they dominated—for example, when management clashes with humanisation. Equally, when things go right they are quick to claim credit as they have internalised the inhuman and cold mechanisms of “office politics” and managerial hierarchies.1 Furthering that, they remain part of the apparatus of domination. It is extremely unlikely that these self-mistrusting, fatalistic, and hopeless people will seek their own emancipation out of rebellious acts against domination. Instead, they might view resistance to domination as disobedient violations towards those who have—at least in their illusion— served their personal ambitions and careers. Confronting the ideology of Managerialism and the factual domination exercised by management presents an unwarranted confrontation. It might even conflict with their prime ideology: TINA—there is no alternative. As a consequence, they tend to overemphasise invented managerial necessities while accepting Managerialism. In management training programmes, they are ready to feed unsuspecting students these ideological hallucinations.

Meanwhile, in the second scenario, when students have reached a relatively clear depiction of managerial domination, it will lead them to properly locate those who cement domination as existing not only above but also outside of themselves. They might view their interests as set against their own, particularly when those furthering domination claim “this training will help you”. With these realisations, people might take up the struggle to overcome the managerial contradictions and ideologies inside which those furthering domination seek to trap them. This may well be the very moment when they start to overcome the distance between “necessity” and human “consciousness”. Their emerging critical emancipatory educators will no longer live in contradiction to students but receive understanding and support from them, and this development even tends to accelerate during the process of communicative action. Critical emancipatory educators will engage with students in a spontaneous manner. Through communicative action, there will be an almost instantaneous understanding if not bond between students and their educators. Mutual and equal recognition in communicative processes will lead to a mutual commitment to emancipation. Mutual, equal, and critical fellowship will replace the static top-down approach of management training programmes. In communicative action, both will consider themselves as equals. From this point onwards, an established communicative practice between students and educators can no longer be penetrated by ideologies such as Managerialism. Instead, the triage of mutual and equal recognition, communicative action, and ideal speech will continue moving towards emancipatory education.

The intellectual sharing of the emancipatory telos will in no way lessen mutual and equal recognition or the will to struggle against domination. Emancipatory education is founded on an eminently communicative process with students who have endured the structural violence of managerial regimes. As such, it tends to represent “a community of victims”. But the adherence to resistance and emancipation never comes easily and automatically. It requires courage on the part of students previously trapped in managerial ideologies as well as from critical educators previously trapped in teaching ideologies. It remains crucial to move from being merely a witness to Managerialism’s march through education, observing one educational disaster after the other, towards emancipatory education based on an undying hope in the future victory of humanisation over domination. This means removing the ideological fog that is so carefully instigated by Managerialism.

Emancipatory education, overcoming domination, and the move against Managerialism might even—albeit gradually—lead to a polarisation between students, those seeking emancipation, and ultimately the people as a whole. There will always be those who, because of their factual life experiences, have already begun to break free from the ideological shackles of Managerialism. Some students will see the objective contradictions between them and Managerialism while beginning to view themselves as having been part of such contradictions. For educators, it remains crucial to never enter into contradictions to students and position oneself above them. In the ascending process of emancipatory education, occasional desertions and betrayals by some of those who previously fostered Managerialism might be expected. Because of this and certain experienced conditions fostered by domination, any movement towards emancipation can only ever be horizontal when it is based on mutual and equal recognition. In that way, emancipatory educators and students form a coherent body in contradicting Managerialism. They will work against those fostering domination in a somewhat triangular relationship of (a) emancipatory educators and (b) students against (c) Managerialism and the domination of management training programmes. The emancipatory educator occupies the centre of such triangular relationship among those seeking emancipation while working out the contradictions presented to them by the ideology of Managerialism, managerial regimes, and management training programmes set against the human drive towards humanisation. This will create a “field of conflict” [Spannungsfeld] between those fostering domination and those who seek emancipation. When students have not yet achieved a critical awareness of the domineering reality of Managerialism, this educational situation is always somewhat forced onto emancipatory educators.

Emancipatory educators working with students practically never perceive themselves in contradiction to those students who have not yet become part of communicative education under the triadic guidance of (a) mutual and equal recognition, (b) communicative action, and (c) ideal speech.2 Yet, the inclusive rather than exclusive approach to all students might be perceived as painful or a hindrance. But rather than being purely a defence mechanism against the ideology of Managerialism, it might be an inclusive mechanism. In any case, it remains challenging to emancipatory educators to join together those who seek emancipation—and recognise themselves as being in contradiction—to those who are still trapped and partially defined by Managerialism. It is imperative to recognise the reluctance of such students when analysing certain forms of scripted behaviours defined by Managerialism. Quite involuntarily, emancipatory educators are placed in a contradictory position to those students, often by their own training institutions or by the sheer ideological force of Managerialism.

But in order to carry forward the principles of a humanistic and mundige (Kant and Adorno) education, emancipatory educators indisputably need to spend close attention to the following:

  • • Focus and support critical students who are part of educational communicative action
  • • Treat incoming students with respect, dignity, and mutual and equal recognition
  • • Include students who are still external to the educational process of communicative action3

When these educators position themselves in contradiction to external students, seeking to break off the ideological shackles of Managerialism while moving towards an adherence to emancipation, they will set themselves up as being detached while creating mistrust between themselves and the students. One might regard such an almost instinctive but deeply troubling reaction of an educator as an indication of a somewhat inherent defect on their part. They tend to misinterpret certain historical moments and life experiences of these students as evidence of the latters’ “intrinsic deficiencies”. But since such educators need the adherence of students when they seek to engage in mutual and equal recognition, communicative action, and, above all, in education, they absolutely and unconditionally need to overcome their own mistrust in students and people in general.

It remains thoroughly understandable that emancipatory educators confined to managerial training institutions and the rigidity of management training programmes can be tempted to unconsciously utilise the same procedures used by the dominant elites when furthering Managerialism. But there can be no post-rationalising of their own deficiencies: students, in whatever way they come, are not the problem even when some of them are carriers of the ideology of Managerialism. The problem for emancipatory education is domination, Managerialism, and management training programmes in particular. Instead of being preventative, it should be an encouragement for emancipatory educators to focus even stronger on the three principles of

  • (a) mutual and equal recognition,
  • (b) communicative action, and
  • (c) emancipatory education

to challenge the powers of Managerialism. Meanwhile, the

  • • dominant elites (management and authoritarian trainers), with their
  • • institutions (managerial training facilities, e.g. schools, colleges, universities), and their
  • • ideology (Managerialism)

will continue trying to conquer unsuspecting students. Many of the trainers for domination, advancers of Managerialism, and legitimisers of inhumanity will become messianic and use ideological manipulation to carry out the cultural-ideological colonisation of the educational life- world. They might pretend to be on the side of humanisation, promising the glories of managerial capitalism, individual advancement, monetary gains, and petit bourgeois lifestyles but they will never achieve authentic emancipation.

Under virtually every circumstance, the role of the emancipatory educator during their educational sessions is to consider seriously and earnestly the very reasons for any attitude of mistrust on the part of students towards the educator as well as on their own part, that is, mistrust directed towards students. It remains imperative to seek out truthful and authentic avenues of communication with students. Part of the programme of emancipatory education is to assist students in helping themselves— through emancipatory educational processes such as communicative action—to critically perceive the reality of Managerialism and managerial regimes that dominate them and, increasingly, also their lifeworld. Their existence in the lifeworld and in managerial regimes that are increasingly defined by Managerialism and petty consumerism often creates a dominated consciousness that is dual in its character. It is a “double-ambiguity” consisting of being full of fear and mistrust, for example, as engineered by one of the key ideological elements of Managerialism, namely competition. Under the competition ideology, virtually everyone is no longer an equal participant in open communication but is denigrated to simple survival under the Social-Darwinistic ideology of “survival of the fittest”, underwritten by the Hobbsian nightmarish bellum omnium contra omnes.A This is always linked to Managerialism’s ideology of individualism.

As a consequence, there is a managerial-ideological mobilisation of students under the twin evil of individualism and Managerialism. Management training programmes, just as schooling before that, focus on individualising with individualised assessments, individualised marks, and individualised grading, despite the frequently rehearsed ideologies of “the school as equaliser”, practice of teamwork, and group-related training activities. Because of their reliance on individualised assessments, these institutions are segregators, not unifiers, despite, or better because of the overwhelming ideology that seeks to pretend that they are equalisers.

The individualism presented in management training programmes is part of a carefully crafted hegemonic ideology that skilfully links several minor ideologies and managerial-educational practices such as intrinsic (“well done”) and extrinsic (money) rewards to individual achievement in schools, colleges, and management training programmes. This ideology is enhanced through individualised outcomes: marks, certificates, awards, success, petit bourgeois lifestyles, and so on. While these assessments have only questionable educational value, they are very efficient instruments of domination, supported by the hegemonic ideology and designed to neutralise critical thinking. They complete the “system incorporation” of students into the managerial orbit and the ideology of Managerialism.5 Set against the project of domination via assessments is the process of emancipatory education that seeks to encourage critical reflection so that students can lose their fear of assessments. But even when they succeed in winning students’ admiration for humanisation rather than Managerialism, emancipatory educational processes remain a slow task. Enforced over years, if not decades, and handed down through generations that have been conditioned in domination under capitalism and management ranging from

  • • early factory regimes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with brutalities and punishments that made way to
  • • twentieth-century personnel management with a skilful mixture of rewards and punishment that eventually gave way to the even more sophisticated apparatus of
  • • human resource management with rewards and ideologies, the internalisation of domination has been flanked by institutions of authoritarian schooling. Authoritarianism is found in politics that has created what German philosopher Theodor Adorno once noted as “The Authoritarian Personality”.6 Perhaps it is this historical tradition and overall linkage of prevailing ideologies and practices that created and sustains domination as engineered by professionals—including MBAs since they started in 19027—businesspeople, the elites of the political apparatus, and corporate managers. It might just explain the efficiency of their ideology as broadcasted daily by corporate mass media.

The “expected” behaviour of those fostering domination is to practise, consciously or unconsciously, cultural-ideological colonisation of virtually all educational institutions and the totality of the lifeworld. As a colonising force, these conquering ideologies are designed predominantly to legitimise the global project of Managerialism but as a sideshow they are also designed to contain and prevent emancipatory education as well as human emancipation as much as possible. What distinguishes emancipatory educators from the dominant elite of management training programmes is not only their overall objective but also their training and educational procedures. In other words, if both act in the same way, the objectives become identical and, as a consequence, emancipation dies.

As such, it remains self-contradictory for the dominant managerial elites to engage in human-to-lifeworld relationships. Instead, the benefits of corporations and managerial capitalism—now ideologically reframed as stakeholders—for the lifeworld are highlighted. In management training programmes, the human lifeworld no longer constitutes the centre of society. It is replaced by “The Corporation”8 from which all benefits and processes for society emanate. To avoid highlighting the contradictory “lifeworld versus Managerialism” character of this ideology, the concept of the colonisation of the lifeworld through Managerialism is never presented to students as a problem but instead painfully avoided. Meanwhile, the benefits of corporations for society are highlighted with a few minor imperfections such as Bhopal, Nestle (the baby killer company), Ford Pinto, Exxon Valdez, and BP in the Gulf of Mexico. By unilaterally highlighting the benefits of corporate capitalism, management training always seeks the cooperation of students but it is never dedicated to mutual and equal recognition between students and trainers. Instead, the pretended cooperation in management training programmes has predominantly one goal: the solicitation of students and their incorporation into the ideological canon of Managerialism.

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