In this presentation I will use the perspective of long economic cycles to explore the extent to which past economic downturns have contributed to transform the relationship between social and economic systems. I will contrast key transformative crises which led to significant developments of the sphere of human development including educational and health systems (the 1830s, 1870s, 1930s) with other crises which I characterise as lost opportunities leading to a retrenchment of the social sphere (1973 and 2008). I will consider whether the outcome from all those economic downturns influenced (or have been influenced by) other existential crises such as pandemics or wars. I will draw some comparisons with the current context proposing that Covid-19 reveals the vulnerability of social systems. This longue durée lens proposes that the transition towards a new world is an open process and I will suggest that the challenging times we are experiencing represent an opportunity (far from automatic) for change, notably in Higher Education, in order to reduce our vulnerability to similar crises and prepare for the next global challenges regarding social justice, health and the environment.
This webinar is part of the EDU Research Seminar Series.