On mobots and classrooms: The converging languages of the new capitalism and schooling

James Paul Gee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Owing to social and technological changes, we are witnessing the beginnings of a global, hyper-competitive 'new capitalism' reorganizing economic and social relationships within and between businesses. This article argues that the themes and images of the new capitalism are part of a much larger 'thematic convergence' in which quite disparate things - like minds, molecules, media, ecosystems and organizations - are being talked about in new and similar ways. I argue that the 'master story' here centers around what I call 'non-authoritarian distributed systems'. After discussing this master story, I turn to two specific domains, which are, in quite different ways, getting 'aligned' with the themes of the new capitalism. The first domain is cognitive science as it applies new ideas about what constitutes 'knowledge' and 'control' in school reform efforts. In this case, I argue that cognitive science is progressively aligning itself with the new capitalism to the mutual benefit of both. The second domain is the radical 'postmodern' critique of capitalism. In this case, I argue that the language of the radical critique of capitalism is being co-opted by the new capitalism itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-407
Number of pages23
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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