05 SES 11 A, Examining “Vulnerability” and “Fragility” in Children and Young People and their Experiences of Education
Although within the framework of psychoanalytically-informed pedagogy there are two concepts of prime importance: the “social place” and the “therapeutic milieu”, both concepts have been marginalised in current pedagogical discourse. The concept of the social place (Bernfeld, 1925/2013) describes the conditions in which children and young people grow up. It relates to an idea according to which the inner world of the human being is inextricably linked to their belonging to a social class. Thus, the concept of the “social place” originally combines psychoanalytical ideas with sociological ones, such as those of capital and habitus (Bourdieu, 1977). This is to say, according to this conceptualisation, "vulnerability" cannot be reduced solely to individual or family-centred terms. On the contrary, it must be understood as a social experience. This idea is linked to an educational concept developed by Fritz Redl and others (Redl & Wineman, 1965), which underlines the importance of highly vulnerable children and young people experiencing supportive relationships at all levels within the framework of the "therapeutic milieu". Analogous to the concept of the "social place", the focus is not only on direct relationship experiences, but also on experiences in a wider social context. While elements of this concept have been taken up in trauma- informed education (e.g. Gahleitner, 2016) and in psychoanalytically-informed pedagogy (Gerspach, 2018), there has often been a lack of attention to the wider social context. This paper illustrates both aspects using research with a group of about 20 prisoners in a youth prison in Germany as an example. Through observations and interviews in a youth prison school, it will reconstruct the basic experiences of the young people, as well as discussing and critically reflecting on the possibilities for developing corrective experiences in a post-COVID-19 world.
Bernfeld, S. (1925/2013) Sisyphos oder die Grenzen der Erziehung. In: Werke Band 5: Theorie und Praxis der Erziehung ‒ Pädagogik und Psychoanalyse. Gießen: Psychosozial-Verl., 11-130. Bourdieu, P. (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge University Press. Gahleitner, S. B. (2017): Das pädagogisch-therapeutische Milieu in der Arbeit mit Kindern und Jugendlichen: Trauma- und Beziehungsarbeit in stationären Einrichtungen. Köln: Psychiatrie-Verl. Gerspach, M. (2018) Psychodynamisches Verstehen in der Sonderpädagogik. Wie innere Prozesse Verhalten und Lernen steuern. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. Redl, F. & Wineman, D. (1965) Controls from Within: Techniques for the Treatment of the Aggressive Child. Cambridge: The Free Press.
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