03 SES 16 B JS, Theorizing Education: A dialogue between philosophy, pädagogik/pedagogikk, and curriculum studies
Joint Symposium NW 03 and NW 13
With the advance of the English language as the lingua franca of global academic communication, the word ‘education’ has become the main denominator of what scholars, researchers and policy makers are focusing on and concerned with in the “field” of “education.” While “education” is an easy word to use, scholars who come from different national and regional traditions often experience a sense of frustration about its lack of precision. This is particularly so when viewed from traditions of scholarship and practice that have a more nuanced vocabulary to discuss educational matters. This also has implications for scholarship itself, as it does matter from which conceptual background one seeks to theorize education – a point explored in detail in Biesta, Allan & Edwards (2014). To facilitate communication across such differences is not a matter of translation but requires different approaches. One is historical and concerns reconstruction of different trajectories of concepts, theories and practices (for such an attempt see Biesta 2011; 2012). Another is systematic-conceptual and focuses on key terms and concepts and the distinctions they seek to make. It is the latter approach I will pursue in my contribution, focusing on two key terms from the German-speaking tradition (although similar terms can be found in other language that are close to or have been influenced by German educational thought and practice). The terms I will focus on are Bildung and Erziehung. Whereas over the past two decades or so Bildung has become increasingly visible in English speaking contexts (see, for example, Løvlie & Standish 2002) and attempts have been made to explain to an English speaking audience what the idea of Bildung is about (Horlacher 2017), the ‘other’ key concept of the German/Continental tradition, namely that of Erziehung (see, e.g., Oelkers 2001), has been far less visible in this discussion. This is unfortunate as one could argue, as has, for example, been done by Benner (2015), that Bildung and Erziehung are both needed to properly theorize what ‘education’ is and what it is about. In my presentation I will focus on this task, not just trying to highlight what the concept of Erziehung stands for, but also how it may differ from the idea of Bildung and why indeed both concepts together begin to articulate the conceptual ‘space’ for a comprehensive theory of education.
Benner, D. (2015). Allgemeine Pädagogik. Eine systematisch-problemgeschichtliche Einführung in die Grundstruktur pädagogischen Denkens und Handelns. 8. Auflage. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa. Biesta, G.J.J. (2011). Disciplines and theory in the academic study of education: A Comparative Analysis of the Anglo-American and Continental Construction of the Field. Pedagogy, Culture and Society 19(2), 175-192. Biesta, G.J.J. (2012). Wanted, dead or alive: educationalists. On the need for academic bilingualism in education. In C. Aubry, M. Geiss, V. Magyar-Haas & D. Miller (Hrsg). Positionierungen. Zum Verhältnis von Wissenschaft, Pädagogik und Politik (pp.20-33). Weinheim: Beltz Verlag. Biesta, G.J.J., Allan, J., & Edwards, R.G. (eds)(2014). Making a difference in theory: The theory question in education and the education question in theory. London/New York: Routledge. Løvlie, L. & Standish, P. (2002). Introduction: Bildung and the idea of liberal education. Journal of Philosophy of Education 36(3), 317-340). Horlacher, R. (2017). The Educated Subject and the German Concept of Bildung. London/New York: Routledge.
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