13 SES 03, Theory of Education
By rethinking the relations between education and thinking, knowledge and unconditionality, identity and alterity, culture and responsibility, the work of Jacques Derrida is a sign of an exceptional and absolute resistance to all powers of dogmatic and unjust appropriation that limit singularity, difference, social justice and human rights, as well as a demand to rethink education, in principle and in conformity with its vocation and essence, that is to say, as an ultimate “space” of unconditional resistance, in which nothing should be beyond question, and where all that is required by thought, knowledge and research (concerning societal, educational and ethical basic principles) should be asserted – a challenge and a principal right that schools and universities should at the same time reflect, invent, and pose.
Like an arrow of hope shot into the heart of a threshold where equality and difference meet (and therefore placing “inclusion” and “exclusion” in a complex relation of heterogeneity and inseparability, which is not accidental), Derrida’s “philosophy of education” moves a constellation of questions about education and educational research from the surface of programs and methodology to a level which is deeply concerned with creating conditions and openings in ethico-didactic structures for welcoming and respecting the singularity of the other, as other (but rendering the welcoming operative and effective), and so thinking anew the responsibility towards what or who is to come – towards the future of education (in the classrooms and in research), of humanity and history, namely the future of Europe, named by Derrida as “the other heading”.
While claiming the importance of Deconstruction to educational discourse and practices, this paper is then aimed at pursuing the principle or the invincible force of unconditional resistance in education, within educational institutions, as a symptom of irredentism, that is to say, as a meta-ethical “act” which translates a burst concerning certain ethical and pedagogical principles fatigued by their own age. We intend to demonstrate that Derridean Deconstruction, being a philosophical idiom that resists sovereignty and reinvents the forms some concepts and methods have acquired in our tradition, thus resisting all the powers that command, besiege, and attempt to appropriate educational institutions, materializes in all its “unconditionals” (invention, responsibility, hospitality, democracy to come, etc.) a certain dream or a force of irredentist resistance which would not be a riotous gesture, nor a revolutionary romanticism or idealism, but a responsible response to the iniquity of the ethical, political and educational laws that annul difference (even within the very processes of inclusion, equality and equity), in the name of an exorbitant, higher and fairer law, above all conditioned laws and all conditional forms of education and educational research – a greater and more dignifying “law” that inspires, draws and guides all pedagogical laws and accounts for the desire of societal developments through the faith in the education of tomorrow.
This is a philosophical paper.
The paper argues for the importance of Derridean Deconstruction to educational discourses and practices.
Beardsworth, Richard. Derrida & the political. London: Routledge, 1996. Beaucher, Hélène. Garantie de la qualité dans l’enseignement supérieur : séléction de documents en langue française. Centre de ressources et d’ingénierie documentaires, 2012. Biesta, Gert J.J., and Denise Egéa-Kuehne, ed. Derrida & Education (Routledge International Studies in the Philosophy of Education). New York: Routledge, 2001. Buarque, Cristovam, A Aventura da Universidade. São Paulo: Editora da UNESP, 1994. Commission européenne. Améliorer la qualité de l’enseignement supérieur, une étude du programme tempus. Luxembourg: Office des publications officielles des Communautés européennes, 2009. Crépon, Marc, and Frédéric Worms, ed. Derrida, la tradition de la philosophie. Paris: Galilée, 2008. Derrida, Jacques. Marges – de la philosophie. Paris: Minuit, 1972. Derrida, Jacques. Positions. Paris: Minuit, 1972. Derrida, Jacques. "The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of Its Pupils".. Diacritics, Vol. 13, No. 3. (Autumn, 1983), pp. 2-20. Derrida, Jacques. Psyché. Inventions de l'autre. Paris: Galilée, 1987. Derrida, Jacques. Du droit à la philosophie. Paris: Galilée, 1990. Derrida, Jacques. Limited Inc. Paris: Galilée, 1990. Derrida, Jacques. L’autre cap, suivi de La démocratie ajournée. Paris: Minuit, 1992. Derrida, Jacques. Force de loi. Le fondement mystique de l’autorité. Paris: Galillé, 1994. Derrida, Jacques. Résistances de la psychanalyse. Paris : Galilée, 1996. Derrida, Jacques. Cosmopolites de tous les pays, encore un effort !. Paris: Galilée, 1997. Derrida, Jacques. De l’hospitalité. Avec A. Dufourmantelle. Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1997. Derrida, Jacques. De quoi demain… . Avec Elisabeth Roudinesco. Paris : Galilée, 2001. Derrida, Jacques. L’Université sans condition. Paris: Galilée, 2001. Derrida, Jacques. Deconstruction Engaged. The Sydney Seminars. Sydney: U. of Sydney, Power Publications, 2001. Derrida, Jacques. Inconditionnalité ou Souveraineté. L'Université aux frontières de l'Europe. Athènes : Ed. Patakis, 2002. Lee, Harvey, and Peter T. Knight. Transforming higher education. Buckingham: Society for Research in Higher Education & Open University Press, 1993. Peters, M., and P. Trifonas, ed. Deconstructing Derrida: Tasks for the new humanities. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Richardson, John, ed. Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986. Rodrigues, Maria João. European Policies for a Knowledge Economy. Cheltenham: Elgar, 2003. Unesco. Managerialism and Evaluation on Higher Education. Unesco Forum Occasional Paper Series 7: Paris, 2004.
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