Technology Education as ‘controversy celebrated’ in the cause of democratic education

Steve Keirl
Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

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Ingår i: PATT 26 Conference; Technology Education in the 21st Century; Stockholm; Sweden; 26-30 June; 2012

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 73:28, s. 239-246

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Publicerad: 2012-06-18

ISBN: 978-91-7519-849-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper is motivated by the challenge that Technology Education seems to encounter in the area of curriculum stability and identity. The search for ’common ground ’ amongst colleagues; theorists; or governments would suggest that finding agreement is an almost impossibility.

The position is developed that; when Technology Education is viewed from a range of perspectives; controversy is an ever-present phenomenon. The spirit of the paper sees this phenomenon as an asset to the field and to society in general and; as such; it is something to be celebrated.

The paper discusses the role of controversy in democratic and educational life using the notion of democracy-as-controversy. In turn; technologies are framed as sites of controversy and the concept of technologies as ’controversial propositions ’ is offered.

The paper illustrates the range of sites of controversy present in Technology Education itself; including: competing stakeholder claims; curricular and epistemological contestations; professional values differences; and pedagogical genres.

In ’celebrating controversy ’; it is argued that; despite systemic and governmental pressures toward conformity; controversy as core phenomenon of Technology Education should be embraced. This can be seen as (assertively) the emergence of ’technology wars’ or (benignly) as Technology ’s own complicated curriculum conversation (after Pinar et al. 1995).


Controversy; controversial issues; curriculum; design and technology education; democracy; ’technology wars’


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