The Capacity to Learn as a Social Product

By Harkaitz Zubiri.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper questions the idea of the capacity to learn as an individualised and naturalised phenonemon. The qualitative research on academic and professional trajectories shows that what the dominant discourse in the education system calls capacity to learn is not only a matter of being able to study and, moreover, it is not an exclusively individual phenomenon. In our research, we have identified four main social institutions (individual, family, education system and employment) that are intermingled in the production of the idea of the capacity to learn. Therefore, we have come to the conclusion that the so-called capacity to learn is a social product. It is a combination of beliefs, strategies and skills. The idea of the capacity to learn is produced in the context of power relationships. The inner conflict in each of these social institutions is permanent. The negotiation process between these social institutions is also constant. The outcome of these power relationships conditions the dominant cultural model. Hence, the so-called capacity to learn is related to a dominant cultural reference, which is shown as natural and reasonable.

Keywords: Capacity to Learn, Social Product, Academic and Professional Trajectories, Individualised Phenomenon, Naturalised Phenomenon

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.119-131. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 331.887KB).

Dr. Harkaitz Zubiri

Assistant Professor, Department of Didactics and School Organisation, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain

Harkaitz Zubiri is an assistant professor at the University of the Basque Country. He studied at Leipzig University, graduated in English Philology at the University of Deusto, and graduated in sociology and in teaching and received a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of the Basque Country. He had a four years doctorate research grant from the Basque government. He is interested in social inequality, education, and creative and cultural activities such as literature.