Publication Details

This article was originally published as Johnson, NF, Macdonald, DC and Brabazon, T, Rage against the machine? Symbolic violence in e-learning supported tertiary education. E-Learning, 5(3), 2008, 275-283. Copyright Symposium Journals 2008. Original journal article available here


The move toward online course facilitation in tertiary education has the intent of providing education at any time in any place to any person. However, the advent of blended learning and e-learning innovations has ostracised, marginalised or ignored those who cannot afford or who are unable to access the latest hardware and software to take advantage of these opportunities. The Web 2.0 age is an era of assumptions: assumptions of participation, literacy and democracy. Yet such inferences are based on the need for high-speed Internet connections, and the latest computers are standard requirements. Those without the ability to access these necessities are being indirectly marginalised by the universities, which is particularly ironic in an era of ‘widening participation’. This article reveals a few tears in the fabric of wiki-enabled democratic education. The authors argue that there is a community of students that are subjected to what Bourdieu termed symbolic violence. Digitisation in tertiary education is reinforcing what it has always been through its history – a haven of the wealthy and the advantaged.



Link to publisher version (DOI)