28 SES 08 A, Time for Change? For a Temporal Turn in the Sociological Study of Education and Europe (Part 1)
Symposium to be continued in 28 SES 09 A
When discontinuity –either as hoped for progress or impending crisis– is expected, one does no longer count on the past to teach what tomorrow will bring. In the gradual demise of cultural canons in education, favouring instead learning and especially its reflexive formulation (the learning of learning) (Mangez, 2008; 2010), this orientation towards time, characteristic of modern society, becomes apparent. The expectation of discontinuity moves the anticipation of the future to the centre (cf. Luhmann, 1998: 63-76), as idly waiting, letting the future come as it comes, seems impossible. In the current inclination, at the European level, to conceive education in the form of projects, this specific orientation towards time as the anticipation of an undetermined future becomes even more apparent. Projects are defined, already etymologically, by a strong orientation towards the future: they pro-ject a future in the present. Projects are also closely linked with action (cf. Schutz, 1962): the expectations they formulate, contain the intent to programme the course of present actions towards a desired goal. European educational projects, such as those funded by the Erasmus+ programme, exploit and determine the limitless character of learning as a resource to anticipate a future. Such educational projects thus become potentially and temporally an instance where the self-constitution of a distinct social system establishes itself against its societal background and where, at the same time, the functionally differentiated character of society is realised. As such, transnational education projects are constituted in a double present (Luhmann, 1981: 133): the present of world time containing everything simultaneously, as uncoordinated chaos, and the present of the duration of the project where the need for coordination arises. The question how transnational educational communication establishes itself as a distinct communication form, with its own probability, so comes to the fore. This contribution wishes to outline how this double present of transnational education poses new opportunities and problems, for education and the sociology of education, as it re-articulates old questions on education and differentiation. How such transnational education comes into being, is rendered possible differently in different project constellations, where educational communication can each time establish a different relevant (political, scientific, economic, etc.) environment to exogenously re-define itself (cf. Teubner, 2016). The longstanding sociological discussion on education and differentiation can therefor be recalibrated vertically: not only as a matter of (the reproduction of) stratification, but as well of its varying genesis in a functionally differentiated world society.
Luhmann N (1981) Soziologische Aufklärung 3. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Luhmann N (1998) Observations on Modernity. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Mangez E (2008) Réformer les contenus d'enseignement. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Mangez E (2010) Global Knowledge-based Policy in Fragmented Societies: the case of curriculum reform in French-speaking Belgium. European Journal of Education 45(1): 60–73. Schutz A (1962) Choosing Among Projects of Action. In: Natanson M (ed.), Collected Papers I, Phaenomenologica, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, pp. 67–96. Teubner G (2016) Exogenous self-binding: How social systems externalise their foundational paradoxes in the process of constitutionalization. In: Febbrajo A and Corsi G (eds), Sociology of Constitutions, London: Routledge, pp. 30–48.
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