13 SES 16 A, The Paradox of Public Education: A European Exploration
According to Hannah Arendt (1961), education consists of an intergenerational passing on of what is worth preserving of our world. The essence of education being mainly and mostly a conservative undertaking. This is a key principle of the Manifesto for a post-critical pedagogy (Hodgson, Vlieghe, & Zamojski, 2017; see also Oliverio, 2019; Thoilliez, 2019; Wortmann, 2019; Schwimmer, 2019). In this paper I will push forward the idea that at the core of the current corrosion of the publicness of education there are disagreements about, first, what is worth to be passed on and, second, whether schools have to be the main democratizing artifacts to make this happen. Present privatizations and commercialization of our education systems are both eating and wearing away gradually as if by gnawing the common goods that public education should provide for all. Many of our education disagreements about what and whether passing on that what is worth preserving of our world, are being politically solved by privatizing strategies: dividing, individualizing, and particularizing. But if no common ground is preserved, if no public discussion toward a common horizon takes place anymore, education and its institutional forms are at a great risk of extinction. The corrosion of the publicness of the common goods of education is being highly successful because privatization and commercialization do not operate only at the level of the policy making processes. In public debates about education, several key pedagogical elements linked to the common conservative undertaking of the educational act are being replaced by privatizing vocabularies. The denial of the conservative undertaking of education follows a variety of paths, although only one will be addressed in this paper: the crisis of transmission in education. I will read from a variety of contemporary European authors that have been discussing the origins and cultural manifestations of this educational crisis (Bellamy, 2014; Finkelkraut, 2014; Recalcati, 2016; Larrosa, 2019). Through their work they are challenging the pedagogical status quo, discomforting many, even irritating and annoying many more. I will show how some of their analysis are opening up interesting dissenting spaces within the mainstream ways transmission has lately being portrayed. The act of transmission will be vindicated as a central educational strategy to preserve what we love about our world. Education needs to restore a common ground worth to be passed on if we really want to preserve the publicness of its common goods.
Arendt, H. (1961). The crisis in education. In Between past and future: Eight exercises in political thought. New York: The Viking Press. Bellamy, F. X. (2014). Les déshérités ou l’urgence de transmettre. Paris: Plon. Finkelkraut, A. (2014). L’identité malheureuse [The unfortunate identity]. Paris: Stock. Larrosa, J. (2019). Esperando no se sabe qué. Sobre el oficio de professor [Waiting for not knowing what. About the profession of teacher]. Barcelona: Candaya. Recalcati, M. (2014). L’ora di lezione. Per un’erotica dell’insegnamento [Class time. For an erotic of teaching]. Torino: Giulio Einaudi editore. Hodgson, N., Vlieghe, J., & Zamojski, P. (2017) Manifesto for a Post-Critical Pedagogy. London: Punctum Books. Oliverio, S. (2019b). An Edifying Philosophy of Education? Starting a Conversation between Rorty and Post-critical Pedagogy. Ethics and Education, 14(4), pp. 482-496. Schwimmer, M. (2019). Rorty, Post-Critical Pedagogy and Hope: a Response. Ethics and Education, 14(4), pp. 497-504. Thoilliez, B. (2019). Hope and education beyond critique. Towards pedagogy with a lower case ‘p’. Ethics and Education, 14(4), 453-466. Wortmann, K. (2019). Post-critical Pedagogy as Poetic Practice: Combining Affirmative and Critical Vocabularies. Ethics and Education, 14(4), pp. 467-481.
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