10 SES 10 C, Giving Voice to Teacher Educators
Nothing is more powerful and effective than unspoken agreements and implicit rules. They maximize the efficacy of institutions due to their subtle and unseen forces (cf. Bentham 1995) and stabilize institutional processes. Taboos represent such influential phenomena. From a sociological, anthropological and religious point of view, taboos are resistant to change and regulate behaviour in social communities. Correspondingly, taboos build identity and aim at various forms of inclusion and exclusion. Some areas of society are replete with taboos; we presume that Education is one such area. Especially in the context of formal education, taboos as well as their related implicit (cultural) norms play a significant role in shaping educational processes and promote the preservation and reorganization of academic systems. Particularly in teacher education, the confrontation with educational taboos is advisable as teachers are key figures in passing on cultural, ethic and educational values in schools.
Consequently, there is an urgent need for a professional and research-based discussion on tough topics that are not addressed in education, so called taboos. But what does the word taboo mean? Does its vagueness and conceptual multiplicity offer the potential to interpret the word anew, for example, in the context of initial teacher education?
The term “taboo” (or Hawaiian Tapu) is of Polynesian origin and has not been translated but only adopted to European languages. Its untranslatability is one of its fundamental features and was crucial for its further use. First recorded in Captain James Cook's travel reports, the term “taboo” was initially exclusively used for religious phenomena which were considered sacred, untouchable, forbidden and powerful (cf. Cook 1967, p. 947). A few years later, Freud (1989, 1979) recognized the importance of the transcultural dimension, the ambivalent meaning as well as the creative, culture-constituting power of taboos. According to him, the beginning of culture is marked by the breach of a fundamental taboo: Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge and thereby caused their own expulsion from paradise (cf. Freud 1979, p. 61). This enforcement of taboos is unthinkable without conscience as an inner censoring mechanism. Thus, the internalization and incorporation of unknown regulations leads to the prevention of certain human actions. In contrast to explicit religious or legal prohibitions, taboos are of an implicit character. Furthermore, in the sense of Kant’s ethical categorical imperative, taboos function prohibitively and, therefore, protect a wide range of personal, ideological, symbolic and material values (cf. Freud 1989, p. 30). Hence, taboos are ethically, morally and emotionally coded. Besides, recent studies on taboos emphasize that they are shaped in a situational, group-specific and context-specific manner (cf. Benthien & Gutjahr 2008).
As little research has been carried out on taboos in educational contexts so far (except Adorno 1965), there is an urgent need for further analysis. Therefore, the main intention of the presented research project is to shed light on unspoken and discreet topics in the area of initial teacher education. It will therefore be asked
- what kind of taboos can be found in the context of initial teacher education?
- can any cultural differences be identified in a European context (Austria vs. Italy vs. Germany)?
- what role do they play?
- which taboos are conducive to the university context and
- how do they defy attempts to rationalization?
The study will also investigate the nature of educational taboos as well as mechanisms on how they are preserved or overridden in formal educational contexts.
Adorno, T. W. (1965). Tabus über dem Lehrberuf. In Adorno, T. W. & Kadelbach, G. (Eds.) (1971), Erziehung zur Mündigkeit. Vorträge und Gespräche mit Hellmut Becker 1959-1969 (pp. 70-87). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Bentham, J. (1995). The Panopticon writings. Ed. and intro. M. Bozovic. London: Verso. Benthien, C. & Gutjahr, O. (Eds.) (2008). Tabu. Interkulturalität und Gender. München: Fink. Bourdieu, P. (1970). Zur Soziologie der symbolischen Form. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Bourdieu, P. (1997). Verstehen. In Bourdieu, P. & Schultheis, F. (Eds.), Das Elend der Welt. Zeugnisse und Diagnosen alltäglichen Leidens an der Gesellschaft (pp. 779-822). Konstanz: UVK-Verlagsgesellschaft. Bremer, H. & Teiwes-Kügler, Ch. (2007). Die Muster des Habitus und ihre Entschlüsselung. Mit Transkripten und Collagen zur vertiefenden Analyse von Habitus und sozialen Milieus. In Friebertshäuser, B., von Felden, H. & Schäffer, B. (Eds.), Bild und Text. Methoden und Methodologien visueller Sozialforschung in der Erziehungswissenschaft. Opladen: Barbara Budrich. Cook, J. (1967). The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery. In Beaglehole, J. C., Volume 3 (Ed.), The Voyage of the Resolution and Discovery 1776-1780. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Flenders, T. (1911). Speakers Give Sound Advice. Syracuse Post Standard, March 28, p. 18. Freud, S. (1974). Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse. In Mitscherlich, A., Richards, A. & Strachey, J. (Eds.), Studienausgabe, Band IV: Fragen der Gesellschaft. Ursprünge der Religion (pp. 61-134). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Freud, S. (1989). Das Tabu und die Ambivalenz der Gefühlsregungen. In Freud, F. (Ed.), Totem und Tabu. Einige Übereinstimmungen im Seelenleben der Wilden und der Neurotiker (pp. 26-80). Frankfurt am Main: Fischer. Kepper, G. (1996). Qualitative Marktforschung. Methoden, Einsatzmöglichkeiten und Beurteilungskritieren. Wiesbaden: Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag. Nieysto, H. (2006). Bildverstehen als mehrdimensionaler Prozess. Vergleichende Auswertung von Bildinterpretationen und methodische Reflexion. In Marotzki, W. & Niesyto, H. (Eds.) Bildinterpretation und Bildverstehen. Methodische Ansätze aus sozialwissenschaftlicher, kunst- und medienpädagogischer Perspektive. Wiesbaden. VS Verlag.
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