Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

The Care of Our Hybrid Selves: Towards a Concept of Building For Digital Times

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This article draws on the work of Michel Foucault to develop a concept of Bildung for our digital times. It first shows how Foucault's concept of disciplinary power challenges the traditional Bildung‐ideal of autonomy. It then goes on to elaborate Foucault's concepts of power, freedom and self‐practices, which can all be extended to the domain of technology use: just as we can never escape from power relations, we cannot purify ourselves from technology, and a clear distinction between humans and technologies is illusory at best. This does not imply an elimination of freedom, however, because, just as with power, freedom does not consist of an absence of external influences, but the practice of coping with these influences. Contemporary Bildung can therefore be characterized as what Steven Dorrestijn calls a care of our hybrid selves, which includes critical skills, like attentional control. Such skills do not stand in opposition to digital technology, however, but in relation to it and must be cultivated through extensive training. Furthermore, while educational initiatives play a vital role in this training process, we must not neglect students’ own technological self‐practices. Exploring such practices allows us to analyse the technology‐related critiques that already exist in everyday practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Aug 2020

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