NW 13 Philosophy of Education: Education and Psychoanalysis

Education and Psychoanalysis

Special call for ECER 2021 proposes five topics, coming from the general call or raising specific issues emerging in the ongoing network ‘Education and Psychoanalysis’.

  • The concept of ‘relationship to knowledge’ and the way it can be used in education from various perspectives.
  • The tension between social demands and the use of knowledge to solve social problems in ‘time of uncertainty’.
  • The question of Ideal and Idealisation linked with the New Education movement and the Psychoanalytical Pedagogy movement.
  • The scientific nature of clinical research in education.
  • The transmission of singular experience of teaching and training through writing.

The Call
During Geneva 2021, network 13 ‘Philosophy of Education’ will nest a collective of researchers working on the links between ‘Education and Psychoanalysis’. An exploration of the research methods and theoretical frameworks at stake within Education, Training and the Psychoanalytic approach is at the heart of their work. The key objective of this network in progress is to facilitate relations, exchanges and meetings between researchers who focus on the psychosocial effects of the unconscious, in the Freudian sense.

In this special call, we will decline three topics of the general call which could be worked from an ‘education and psychoanalysis’ perspective.

1. The objective of formal education: is it uniquely a matter of transmission of knowledge or should that topic be understood in wider ways? We would like to welcome research works using the notion of ‘relationship to knowledge’. Since its first emergence in the 1960s (Lacan and Althusser), this notion has been used in research addressing various situations relating to education and training. Well known throughout the French-speaking world, this notion began to emerge within philosophical works (Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Hegel, Bachelard) and appears today in the field of education from three perspectives: psychoanalytical, sociological, didactic (Pouliot, Bader & Therriault, 2010).

2. ‘How can knowledge transmission in educational settings contributes to the solving of social problems?’ Clinical approaches linking education and psychoanalysis could probably offer elements of an answer to such a question, or a slightly different way of approaching it. Recent world crisis (Covid-19, climate change, terrorism, populism, etc.) contributes to a deep mutation of the transmission processes. Today, the knowledge transmitted may no longer constitute a potential pool of answers to solve social problems. Rather, education would help development of an ‘ability to think’ (Bion, 1962/2014, p. 155) new issues in ‘time of uncertainty’ (Puget, 2010).

3. The New Education movement developed in Geneva at the beginning of the 20th century was linked with the Psychoanalytical Pedagogy movement. Relationships between those two movements could be subjects of proposals. For example, Maria Montessori has influenced Hans Zulliger, Anna Freud, Nelly Wolffheim and many other pedagogues influenced by psychoanalysis (Buehler, 2011). Pierre Bovet, director of Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, contributed to the dissemination of so-called psychoanalytical pedagogy in the early 1920s. Historical research could enlighten those aspects. The issue of the Ideal and Idealisation in education could also be explored, related to the notion of Ego ideal (Ichideal, Freud, 1921). For example, the New Education matched the ideal of a new man. What was the educational Ideal of psychoanalytical pedagogy at the beginning of the 20th century? What ideal in education can be thought of today?

More generally, we would be interested in works on the question of the scientific nature of clinical research in education (Bainbridge & West, 2012) – seen as a possible way to reduce the gap between theory and practice – and that of the transmission of singular experience of teaching and training through writing (Britzman, 2015).

Contact Person(s)
Arnaud Dubois arnaud.dubois@univ-rouen.fr
Patrick Geffard patrick.geffard(at)univ-paris8.fr

Bainbridge, A. & West, L. (Eds.) (2012). Minding a gap. London: Karnac books.

Bion, W. R. (1962). The Psychoanalytic Study of Thinking. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43, 306–310. Published in Bion, W. R. (2014). The complete works. Vol. VI:153–161. London: Karnac books.

Bovet, P. (1920). La psychanalyse et l’éducation. Annuaire de l’instruction publique Suisse, 11, 9-38.

Buehler, P. (2011). Ein ,unmöglicher Beruf'. Psychoanalytische Pädagogik zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung, 17, 34-51.

Britzman, D. (2015). A Psychoanalyst in the classroom: On the human condition of education. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Freud, S. (1921). Massenpsychologie und Ich Analyse. Internationaler psychoanalysticher Verlag. Gesammelte Werke, XIII, p. 71-161.

Pujet, J. (2010). The subjectivity of certainty and the subjectivity of uncertainty. Psychoanalytic dialogues, 20, 4–20.

Pouliot, C., Bader, B., Therriault, G. (2010). The notion of the relationship to knowledge: A theoretical tool for research in science education. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 5/3, 239–264.