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Disruptive FixationSchool Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno-Idealism$
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Christo Sims

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163987

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163987.001.0001

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Conclusion: The Resilience of Techno-Idealism

Conclusion: The Resilience of Techno-Idealism

(p.163) 7 Conclusion: The Resilience of Techno-Idealism
Disruptive Fixation

Christo Sims

Princeton University Press

This book has shown that daily life at the Downtown School for Design, Media, and Technology involved a lot of rote and scripted behavior despite the reformers' promise of unprecedented creativity, improvisation, and fun. These reformers believed they were opening the school to the world, but in several highly problematic areas educators and, in particular, privileged parents worked to seal it off. They hoped to appeal to students' inherent interests and overcome social division but ended up with a system that removed many of the most uncomfortable underprivileged. Given that techno-philanthropism routinely falls far short of reformers' stated ideals, the chapter asks how it can be that cycles of disruptive fixation predictably persist. It also considers the beneficiaries of a “failed” cycle of disruptive fixation and how such failure allow participants to repair and maintain their idealism, at least for a while.

Keywords:   disruptive fixation, Downtown School, media technology, privileged parents, social division, techno-philanthropism, idealism

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