Marianna Papastephanou

Education, the “Age of Uncertainty” and the Politics of such Temporal Metaphors

Marianna Papastephanou has studied and taught at the University of Cardiff, UK. She has also studied and researched in Berlin, Germany. She currently teaches Philosophy of Education in the Department of Education at the University of Cyprus. She has, for four years, been Professor II in the Department of Education at Oslo University, Oslo, Norway. She has written articles on the ‘modern versus postmodern’ divide, utopia, the Frankfurt School and epistemological, linguistic and ethical issues in education. She is the editor of K-O Apel: From a Transcendental-Semiotic Point of View (Manchester University Press, 1997), and the author of: Educated Fear and Educated Hope (Sense Publishers, 2009); and Thinking Differently About Cosmopolitanism (Paradigm, 2012/Routledge, 2015).

Education, the “Age of Uncertainty” and the Politics of such Temporal Metaphors

The thematic description of this forthcoming ECER conference emphasizes the responsiveness of educational research to societal change and turbulent times across the world. We are invited to acknowledge epochal “challenges and uncertainties” and to rethink prospects for a future of better promise and hope. We are summoned to understand ourselves as inhabitants of a new age. The theme of this conference sets the “age of uncertainty” as the ultimate context of educational theory and practice. This reflects a broader tendency of educational studies in our times to use temporal metaphors that predicate our circumstances as exceptional: “critical times”, “pandemic age”, “precarious times”, “times of shipwreck”, “years of upheaval”, etc. However, most educational research employs such metaphors without exploring the politics of doing so. Lack of meta-theoretical, self-reflective attention to the operations of “the age of uncertainty” rhetoric reproduces the use of this metaphor as a stopgap, a cliché, or a modish slogan with possibly pernicious political effects. This keynote lecture aims to retrieve the neglected educational-philosophical task of disclosing the ambiguous politics of the “age of uncertainty” metaphor. More awareness of, or vigilance about, such politics is needed for: giving historical memory its due; noticing deeper connections of education with diverse causalities of adversities related to “our current realities”; and avoiding some risks that accompany the uncritical overuse of “crisis” and “uncertainty” epochal metaphors.

Upcoming ECERs

ECER'24, Nicosia
ECER'25, Belgrade
ECER'26, Tampere
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