Inoperative Learning: A Radical Rewriting of Educational Potentialities, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Inoperative Learning

A Radical Rewriting of Educational Potentialities, 1st Edition

By Tyson E. Lewis


134 pages

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Paperback: 9780367363260
pub: 2019-08-23
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Hardback: 9781138227422
pub: 2017-10-19
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315395708
pub: 2017-10-16
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Inoperative Learning embodies a weak philosophy of education. It does not offer a set of solutions or guidelines for improving educational outcomes, but rather renders taken-for-granted assumptions about the theory-practice coupling inoperative. By arguing that such logic reduces education to instrumental ends, this book presents a challenge to contemporary notions of education as outcomesbased, goal-directed learning. From the perspective of learning, the neutralization of progress, growth, and maturity would usually be seen as obstacles needing to be overcome on the path toward set goals. Yet Lewis argues that a serious investigation of inoperativity opens up possibilities that would be otherwise unavailable in a world fixated on the question of learning. In dialogue with philosophers (Agamben, Benjamin, and Esposito), authors (Kafka and Walser) and qualitative researchers (Lather), Lewis turns our collective attention to what remains when concepts such as learning, child development, teacher effectivity, and personal growth are left idle.

Inoperative Learning presents a radical rewriting of educational possibilities. It should therefore be of great interest to educational researchers and educational philosophers concerned with the question of alternative logics of education beyond learning. The book may also be of interest to theorists in the critical humanities that are engaged in education as a thematic concern in their research and classroom practices.


Tyson E. Lewis dissolves the means-ends logic in the hierarchy "philosopher–teacher–student" that has held us captive since Plato. With constant reference to Italian critic Giorgio Agamben, Lewis plots ways of not-getting-educated—friends studying alongside one another, a student scattered in distraction, a teacher miming virtuous actions as if to say, "anybody can play at this." More than a philosophical critique of educational theory: this book also tells how to live joyfully within a finite frame. When there is no final, total "in-order-to," we receive the "gift of inoperativity." - Paul North, Professor Germanic Languages, Yale University, USA

Table of Contents

List of Figures Acknowledgements Preface (Fred Moten and Stefano Harney) 1. Inception 2. Divestment Interruption 1: Sopa d’Europa Interruption 2: "Coming of John" 3. Impersonality Interruption 3: Berlin Chronicle 4. Inhumanity Interruption 4: Going Feral 5. Impropriety Interruption 5: "Bad Design" 6. Irresponsibility Interruption 6: "The Test" Interruption 7: "Absent Minded" Examiner 7. Ineffectiveness Interruption 8: A Comedic Sense of Teaching Interruption 6: "The Test" Interruption 7: "Absent Minded" Examiner 7. Ineffectiveness Interruption 8: A Comedic Sense of Teaching

About the Author

Tyson E. Lewis is Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of North Texas.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Research
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects