ERG SES H 10, Transition and Education
In this paper, I explore the concept of transition from the perspective of psychoanalyst Robert Pfaller as presented in his book Die Illusionen der Anderen: über das Lustprinzip in der Kultur (2009).
I introduce the notion of “transition” as the adult society’s way of relating to the norms of our culture by means of delegating education to children. Instead of doing mathematical exercises that will improve our reasoning, or being engaged with the molecular structures of water, we let children do it for us and instead of us. My contribution is critical in the explicit sense that it addresses the functioning of schooling as a mean to both commit and escape the demand to undergo education and be educated i.e. creative, flexible, reflexive and active.
Transitioning is a core aspect of schooling. No matter what our position, critical, progressive, pragmatic, or what school subject we are committed to, we end up talking about the student or pupil’s transition from child to citizen by means of education. I divide positions pertaining to this matter roughly into two categories, one “positive” and one “negative”. Both are progressive, stressing the need for education in order for children to enter into society as citizens. They are represented by the European Commission (COM, 2002, 2005), but you also find this defence of education in the works of educational researchers such as Biesta (2014).
From another viewpoint, school is addressed as a matter of establishing social hierarchies and not about reaching the educational targets, articulated in EU documents and by educators. This “negative” view on the role of education rejects explanations of school that retrieves the meaning of education from the set of core of values to which citizenship and reflexivity belongs, and replaces these with for example theories of reproduction (Broady, 2011). However, I will refrain from placing myself in either one of these corner sides. What I present is an analysis of the function of school that departs from the field of psychoanalysis.
Starting from the economics of the libido I follow the rule that 1 +1 = 2. In the context of Pfaller’s theory, this means that strong positive feelings towards something taken together with strong feelings against it will cause feelings of ambivalence twice as strong as either one of the initial emotional states. The ambivalence arises when we are both for and against something: agreeing to it but not willing to endure the consequences.
When reflecting on the cultural phenomenon “School” and the education discourse surrounding it, it can be noticed that the values expressed are not in any observable way performed by adults themselves. The values are communicated to all citizens, while the acting out them is delegated to children. Thus,Iintroduce a concept of “transition” that commits us to understand educational transition as adults delegating education to children instead of partaking in education themselves.
Biesta, Gert. The Beautiful Risk of Education. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2014. “The Future of Teacher Education: Evidence, Competence or Wisdom?” Research on Steiner Education, 2011. Broady, Donald. "Skolan, medelklassen och statsprogressivismen" Kritisk utbildningstidskrift no.142-44, 2011. European Commission. Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of education and training systems in Europe, 2002. Lacan, Jacques. The seminar of Jacques Lacan, book IV. The relation of the object and the Freudian structures (unpublished), 1957. Latour, Bruno. An Inquiry into Modes of Existence : An Anthropology of the Moderns, Harvard University Press, 2013. OECD.The Definition and Selection of Key Competences. Executive Summary, 2005. Pfaller, Robert. Die Illusionen der anderen: über das Lustprinzip in der Kultur. Suhrkamp, 2002. Rappaport, Roy. Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999. Winnicott, Donald, Playing and Reality (1971), Routledge, 2005.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.