Issue n° 16

Opening, Geneviève Fraisse

Moral chronicle, Alain Vergnioux (University of Caen)

To ask the school the question of its rhythms, raises the question of powering the educational time in a goal of control and efficiency of its activities. While opposing it the metaphor of the swing, the author wants to show that the idea of rhythm doesn’t mean a thing, but in rupture and invention – achieved by and for individuals.

Notion : The Parity, Pierre Statius (University of Franche-Comté)

The debate on the parity throws into relief the contradiction between the universal definition of manhood and the account of the sexual difference. How to rectify the masculine hegemony without falling into the communautarian fragmentation ? The author shows that the question sends back to two conceptions of the citizenship, privileging one the association of various concrete individuals, the other the integration of equal individuals to an abstract model.

Report: Mixity

Introduction, Laurence Cornu (IUFM Poitou-Charentes)

Coeducation : social, ethical and political issues, Nicole Mosconi (University Paris X)

Coeducation was one of the major transformations of the education system in this century. A major issue is whether it leads to a better understanding between the sexes or rather brings them into conflict. The French Third Republic continued the tradition of separate schools for the sexes that it inherited from the Church, in preference to the American ‘coeducational’ system. Coeducation was introduced in stages to France only after the Second World War, following women’s emancipation. However, whereas the debate at the beginning of the century between the proponents and adversaries of coeducation was based on preconceived socio-political ideas, the late introduction of coeducation was made law without any educational goal or explicit debate. For this reason pernicious inequalities still persist and call not for idealism but for a debate on the ethical and political measures that need to be taken to make equal opportunities between boys and girls a reality.

Memories of before

Psychoanalytic experience and thought is used in this paper to provide an anamnesis that searches for meaning in the midst of ‘perceptible’ memories. While separate high schools for girls leaves the terrain of sexuality fallow and, at the initiation of the latent phase, contributes to ‘epistemophilia’, during adolescence this terrain is left ‘uncultivated’. Separate schools lead to an idealisation of the opposite sex which is doomed to bitter disillusionment. Today we know that learning together doesn’t prevent learning as such. Coeducation provides ‘real’ companionship but also engenders other effects. With or without coeducation, the relationships between the sexes must be constructed.

Notion: Adolescence, Dominique Ottavi (IUFM of Versailles)

Adolescence is a problem period both in educational terms and for researchers trying to understand it. At a time when Freudian thought was being developed, Granville Stanley Hall and his co-workers at Clarke University were working in this field and put forward the concept of genetic psychology. According to this theory, adolescence is the time when childhood comes to an end, the individual enters into the flow of the wider world of humanity as a whole and discovers spirituality. It is a time of opening up and also one of conversions. Female puberty is thus described as a woman’s discovery of her physical and spiritual place in the ‘chain of life’, which transcends the individual.

Engendering sex, Anne-Marie Drouin-Hans (University of Bourgogne)

Rousseau, in Emile, gave roles to Emile and Sophie in the belief that the human race was a single entity. The shortcomings of this search for characteristics, the conclusions of which shock our modern way of thinking, can in fact be found in certain currents of contemporary feminist thought. Thus the use of the word gender since the 1970’s, which is supposed to transcend the biological determinism of the term sex, has in fact numerous ambiguities that derive from the difficulty in conceptualising both universality and difference and to the aporia according to which we cannot live without images – that turn out to be false. ‘Gender’ doesn’t exist as such but has to be constructed, painstakingly and through role playing.

Between nature and artefact : rediscovering mixed society, Bernadette Bensaude Vincent (Université Paris X)

Publicity images notwithstanding, nothing is pure in nature. Mixing and blending gives rise to order – in its oldest sense, meaning the opposite of chaos – and innovation. Whether conceived of as geometrical figures or a qualitative explanation, for the ancient Greeks the cosmos was considered to be an infinite variety of harmonious combinations between a finite number of elements. While the Greek city was always based on exclusion, Rome was founded on heterogeneity. This philosophy is reflected in contemporary composite materials. Developing them requires that heterogeneous groups work together and this ‘multi-material’ culture could be an inspiration for the concept of a composite society, a transposition to the social context of the possibilities of mixing.

From gender metaphysics to a frontier strategy, Brigitte Frelat-Kahn (IUFM of Paris)

Within the concept of a mixed society there are elements of both a hierarchical and an egalitarian system. According to entitative metaphysics, the fact that both sexes belong to the human race doesn’t exclude the commensurate and hierarchical differentiation of gender. With the demands for equality of the sexes, universality dissolves as the boundaries fade. Mixed society becomes a question of plurality, of relationships, of exploring the boundaries that constitute the individual, of competition that requires compromise. These are questions of tolerance rather than complementarity.

A principle of uncertainty. Reflections on democracy and mixed society, Pierre-Damien Huyghe (University Paris I)

Plato criticised democracy on the grounds that it was based on desire and so was without limitations. According to this, desire and equality are incompatible. The question posed is indeed how to find a modus vivendi between subjects considered equal but with contradictory desires ? A mixed society exists precisely when a desire (an incommensurable singularity) can be linked to another in a way that does not involve power. A mixed society allows a peaceful interaction between desires. It is therefore not an ideal but a fact, the concrete political fact par excellence – a principle of uncertainty, not a practicality, a tissue, a tension within a given gender. A mixed society does not obey an apportionment logic. Its very structure is what prevents an identity being assigned to an individual.

Studies : The De magistro of St Augustin and models of teaching, Jean-Marc Lamarre (IUFM of Pays de Loire)

The number 14 of the magazine proposed an article of Israel Scheffler in which the American philosopher brought back questioning on the teaching to three main : what way of teaching shall I aim to succeed ? In what consists such a teaching indeed ? What could I make so that it succeeded ? Questions that he dealt with through the three figures of Locke, Augustin and Kant. Jean-Marc Lamarre answers him today on his interpretation of the De magistro, particularly upon the question of the language.

Correspondence : About the identity of educational theory, Maria Eugénia Motta Falco (University of Lisboa)

The identity of educational theory is problematical on account of having to be a theory of educational action. The purpose of this paper is to identify the specific knowledge for education. The solution is an identity for educational theory in the diversity of appropriate meanings for a theory of education which can be achieved through complex and contextual researches.