Article ID: CBB718866459

Design as Aesthetic Education: On the Politics and Aesthetics of Learning Environments (2020)


The article, speaking from the double perspective of media history and political aesthetics, discusses the impact of behaviourism and early computer technology on the design of learning environments in the United States after the Second World War. By revisiting B. F. Skinner’s approaches to behavioural techniques and cultural engineering, and by showing how these principles were applied first at US design departments, and later to prison education, it argues that cybernetic and behavioural techniques merged in the common field of design and education. Behavioural design of the 1960s and 1970s furthered the cybernetic dream of total control over the world by addressing the learning environment rather than the individual, and operated within a space of possibility that was governed equally by technology and aesthetics. Behavioural design can therefore be understood as a political technology.

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Article Stefanos Geroulanos; Leif Weatherby (2020) Cybernetics and the Human Sciences. History of the Human Sciences (pp. 3-11). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Shin, Youjung
Popkewitz, Thomas S.
Venegas, Cristina
Tyler David Morgenstern
De Mol, Liesbeth
Halsted, David
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
History of the Human Sciences
Technology and Culture
Social Studies of Science
Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften
University of Wisconsin at Madison
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Washington Press
MIT Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Akademika Publishing
Computers and computing
Teaching; pedagogy
Cognitive science
Kare, Susan
Skinner, Burrhus Frederic
Schmitt, Francis Otto
Miller, George Armitage
Shannon, Claude Elwood
Chomsky, Noam
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
United States
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
International Business Machines Corporation

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