Malcolm Kratz: Rethinking Education in Times of Neurocapture and Differentiation

Advisor/tutor: Rachel O’Reilly

Arnhem, June 2017


This thesis conducts preliminary research towards a society of neuronal liberation, which I define as an organisation that understands the development and consequences that neuroplasticity has on our brains and leaves the space for each to get the utmost out of their own (brain) development. It assesses recently debates within the conjuncture of cultural, neuroscience and political analyses of media and subjectivity, in the work of Thomas Metzinger, Bernard Stiegler, Catherine Malabou and Ivan Illich, to consider the stakes of neuronal thinking for present and future education projects, where institutional or para-institutional. Instead of promoting a singular idea of learning and measurable personal development, it proposes an understanding of neuronal capture as a way of reimagining the entanglement of ‘children’ with both devices, neuronal and media discourses, and existing institutionalised practices. The challenge of neuronal liberal in and through education is to be making space for everyone, of any age, to engage in education, and for education, through life experience as well as through instruction, to be available for everyone and deliverable also by many more players other than traditional educators of neuronal capture. As devices only become more complicated and more entangled between self, society and the neuronal level of culture, attention to neuronal capture in and by education will have more and more implications for the way society is organised. Where school promotes a global reproduction of existing economic and capitalist cultural systems and proves to be incapable in dealing with ever rapidly evolving societal technologies, it is only through non-obligatory learning where solutions can be found—at the level of neuronal difference. Here, also in this thesis, the responsibility of learning is not dependent and monopolised by one global type of institution. This thesis works towards ideas and discourses by which everyone can take control over the way their brain and personality shaped, precisely by understanding the current stakes and material processes of neuronal capture.