Continuing Education and the Postmodern Arts of Power

  • Scott McLean University of Saskatchewan


University continuing educators have recognized that political-economic and institutional changes are making social activism more difficult to sustain. This article argues that to build more effective and vigorous forms of social activism, continuing educators need to understand how systems of oppression are changing. In postmodern societies, patterns of oppression are shifting from centralized, explicitly coercive projects of political domination and economic exploitation, to decentred, subtle processes of constructing individuals with the capacity and the desire to govern themselves. To encourage a different mode of thinking about the nature of oppression and power, some aspects of the work of Michel Foucault are interpreted. To provoke a more creative approach to social activism through university continuing education, the article connects Foucault's abstract.