• How Can It Be? Nietzsche, the Radical Water Practice of a Looked After Child, and the Established Order of the School

      Moran, Paul; University of Chester (Other Business Ltd, 2016-12-19)
      The death of God, announced by Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil (1886), and in his earlier works, has been hailed as a revolutionary turning point, at least in philosophical terms. More importantly, the same philosophical principle, announced in 1886, symbolically, culturally, politically and intellectually has come to represent an incision that fundamentally cuts out any metaphysical justification that ‘the order of things’, including, say, the economic and social order, is necessarily so, that is to say has been metaphysically given, as if ordained by God; and exposes in its place a complex, but at bottom, naked will to power; and also, therefore, that any such order of being is a fabrication of vested interests (Deleuze, 2006). The revolutionary significance of this finding, however, is not one of simply abstract and theoretical moment. Nietzsche’s critique of metaphysics tears apart, for example, as lived experiences, assumptions that divide the very corporeality of our individual and social being from the systems of knowledge and expectations, and of how and where we live from the construction and meaning of our individual and collective identities (Woodward, 2013). And yet there are circumstances, and perhaps this is mostly so when living outside an established order from which you derive your meaning, that render your status, your future, your security profoundly disturbing, with no point of remittance. In such circumstances – and these are the circumstances today most obviously of the refugee, the dispossessed, and the poor – the future is only tenable by being able to belong to whatever established order is necessary. Having the requisite skills, appearance, and basically mode of being to secure a job and somewhere to live are not very mysterious but necessary indications that being part of any such order has been effected. This paper explores these points in relation to an ethnographic study of looked after children over the course of around a year, focussing on one child in her reception year, at her local mainstream primary school. More generally, this serves as an illustration of how schools necessarily do the work of the symbolic order.
    • Notes towards a Nietzschean pedagogy of the city

      Moran, Paul; University of Chester (Sage, 2016-05-23)
      Philosophical assumptions about identity, being and belonging have, as is well know, historically been bound together; their classical nexus being Plato’s Socrates, who because of this figures as the first philosopher of the city. Especially during moments of crisis, the impulse, both philosophically and politically, even today, is to make abject those who appear not to conform to the appropriate ideal identity of what ought to be. In the first part of our paper we consider the philosophical logic of this pedagogy of the city and its cultural context and implications; and in the second part, we demonstrate this pedagogy of the city as a practice, using ethnographic data derived from a study of a homeless couple and their struggle to become a family amidst the homeless community within which they live.
    • The future of educational research: has Nietzsche led the way?

      Moran, Paul; University of Chester (Sage, 2016-10-19)
      A peculiar and persistent feeling of enervation accompanies and describes a certain, rapidly predominating place; a place that is an end; the very end; the end of hope; the termination of difference; the triumph of fear; the automatic capitulation of one’s own and others’ being; but most depressingly of all, it is a dreadful place, because it is an end without end. This is a place that is almost featureless; a place that is almost empty, and yet claustrophobic; a place that is reductive, isolated, and inescapable; a place that is determined to forge everything fated to be caught within its limiting space, into its own precisely narrow identity of sparse functionalism. This place is what education, particularly state education, since state schooling led the way, has become. And unsurprisingly, perhaps even predictably, with little or no resistance, this is what educational research has developed into; predominantly, as the state’s supporting mechanism. But worse: for some time, and quite desperate not to see its own shame, this has become, overwhelmingly, the uncritical, blind concern, the stark, empty, dismal future, of educational research.
    • The Philosophy of Homelessness

      Moran, Paul; Atherton, Frances; University of Chester (Routledge, 2018-08-06)
      A Philosophy of Homelessness is, in a number of respects, a ground-breaking work. It critically analyses the, for the most part, ordinary assumptions by which most of us in the developed world appear to live our daily, ordinary lives. These ordinary assumptions include rights of ownership, and the ability through ownership to fashion one’s own living environment, for example by being able to decorate, add to and modify one’s home, and therefore to express some agency about place, belonging and being; the capacity to engage in an economic system in such a way that allows a distance, an abstraction, a dissociation of the participant, including the participant’s body, from that which is being exchanged; as well as a more general ontology that identifies and establishes the personal, the private, the condition that this - whatever this might be - being mine, again, including one’s own body, and the intimate cradle of one’s self, and thus one’s soul. Our research about homelessness, we suggest, discloses these facets of our contemporary, mundane neoliberal experience as products of an economy of being that forges our beliefs and practices about who and what we are. This critical analysis, amounting to a philosophy, is engendered from the mundane experiences of a community of chronically homeless people; a community that we have known and been part of for over three years. For example: the taken for granted experiences of shopping and belonging are discussed through the prism of heroin dealers and addicts; the process of being a couple and wanting to have a family is understood via a homeless couple’s struggle to live together and have a baby; the attempt to achieve financial independence is discussed by way of enforcers who collect drug debts for organised criminals; and themes of intimacy and privacy are explored through the lives of homeless sex-workers. Whilst the daily events of the homeless people that populate this work are arresting enough in themselves, it is their implications, their ontological and political implications, that are most shocking and telling about the brutal and parlous state of contemporary first world society, and the growing number of marginalised and dispossessed that it begets. The appeal of this powerful work therefore extends beyond an ethnographic and sociological analysis of homelessness in urban Britain; it provides a concrete opening for those interested in a radical critique, at the quotidian level of realisation, of the current global crisis of neoliberal beliefs and forms of organization. There are no other books on the market that undertake this work in this intimate, gritty, disturbing and irreverent way. By way of structure it achieves this by foregrounding in each chapter the lives of specific homeless people, which illustrate and develop the themes of being homeless.