4IR in South Africa and some of its educational implications

  • Nazir Carrim
Keywords: Fourth Industrial Revolution, Foucault, South African education, Discourse


This article focuses on the construction of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) discourse and some of its educational implications from a South African perspective. Using Foucault’s (1970) notion of enunciative modalities, and drawing empirically on the statements made by the Word Economic Forum, the South African government and some universities, this article shows that it is people in governments, the economy and academia who are positioned as authorities of delimitation who define what the 4IR is and who bring it into visibility. The article then shows that inevitability, STEM matter, instrumentalism and benevolence are the discursive coordinates around which the 4IR discourse currently revolves. The article also  shows that it is crucial for human agency in the development of the 4IR to ensure that it is us, as human beings, who will determine how the 4IR will unfold, rather than have this future determined for us by machines.

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