Education as Transformation: Creating Cultural Identity & Civil Society
Civil Society serves as important bulwark against both the State and the market economy. It exists in tension with both since civil society constitutes the associational and social life of communities and so can provide an independent critical evaluation of the values that the State and the market support in their policies. Even in totalitarian societies, civil society can be a source of support for oppressed people. Recent events across the globe attest to the power of civil social movements and of civil society.
Cultural Identity forms an important bridge between the State and civil society, since individual identity is formed in families, in neighbourhoods, in communities and through associations, that is, in particular cultural traditions. Civil society expresses these cultural traditions and so individual cultural identity is shaped by civil society. In turn, the State itself is founded on cultural identity or identities that are part of national identity.
This paper examines the connection between cultural identity and civil society, arguing that education has an important transformative role in the preservation and transmission of cultural traditions. It has, therefore, an important role in the creation of individuals’ cultural identity, which in turn, transforms the cultural identity of civil society and of the State.
Jānis (John) Tālivaldis Ozoliņš is Professor of Philosophy at Australian Catholic University. He is a permanent Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, University of Latvia. He is a Foreign Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. He was Deputy Chair of Academic Board (2012-2014). He served as Head of Philosophy at ACU from 1996-2010, Executive Dean (Acting) (2009) and Associate Dean, Teaching, Learning and International (Acting) (2009), in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University. He was also Foundation Head of the Graduate School for Research in Philosophy and Theology (2005-2007). He is an elected professorial member of the Academic Board of the University (2009-present) and served on the University Senate, the governing body of the University, from 2004-2006. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia and served as President of the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (2006-2009). He is Vice-President, Asia-Oceania, of COMIUCAP, Regional Coordinator , Centre for Research in Values and Philosophy (CUA, Washington) and Secretary-General, WUCPS.