Issue n° 23

Opening, Jorge Larossa (University of Barcelone)

Moral chronicle : Literature, heroism and history, Jean-Marc Lamarre (IUFM Pays de Loire)

Is there still a place for a morality of heroism ? To Olivier Rolin it seems not, even though he has taken the idea to its furthest limits. Or was this only a caricature of it – and, leaving aside how it disappeared, its irremediable loss ? Is there heroism only in aiming at the absolute and in accepting death ? Or is it is possible, as with Hannah Arendt, to conceive another dimension of heroism in which one finds expressed the distinctive human ability forever to rediscover a new world ? Is the only form of heroism tragic ? Literature alone can convey its lights and shades, and whether it takes a ridiculous or comic form, it is only literature which brings into being – in a no less tragic manner – its most appropriate expression.

Notion : Subjection, Christina Gautheron (University of Caen)

In the history of language, the idea of the subject has been gradually detached from a complex linguistic web in which the contrasts subject/object, mind/matter, liberty/alienation have been very prominent. A fortiori, ‘subjection’ can connote both the subject’s enslavement and its constitution. Between humility and hubris, the desire for absolute power and voluntary slavery, the perversities of Nazism and of extreme neo-liberalism, attitudes to law manifest a dialectic of ambiguity. The article examines in detail this nexus of meanings, separates its various strands and holds on to its enigma.

Report: Moral Education: new questions, new conflicts ?

Presentation, Maria Pagoni-Andréani (University of Lille III)

Law in schools : help or hindrance?, Jean-Francois Rey (IUFM Nord – Pas de Calais)

The article sets out to investigate the possibilities and limitations of introducing law into the heart of the school’s life. The author’s hypothesis is as follows : in order for there to be a locatable and definitive reference point, there needs to be a mediator between teacher and pupil, pupil and school, school and family. But this does not mean looking elsewhere for some absent external judge or mediator to which one can appeal. It is not by making pedagogical relationships juridical that we will underline the authority of law. On the contrary, a pedagogy based on respect for persons, which allows considerations deriving from the status of legal subject to emerge, would seem to be more fruitful. The school has resources within itself which need to be brought to light, made explicit and related to common law.

The creation of civic identity in schools : problems and possibilities, Constantin Xypas (Université catholique de l’Ouest)

There are two obstacles to, and one positive basis for, the creation of civic identity in schools. The first obstacle is found in the gap between adults’ and students’ perceptions of citizenship. The second, in the gap between saying and doing – the picture presented by adults and reality on the ground. In each case, the disagreement is about the exercise of power on a day-to-day basis and about fair solutions in the case of conflict. How can these gaps be overcome ? One solution is to share power with students. This is the solution adopted by certain experimental schools inspired by a whole-institution pedagogy. Since one cannot easily make such a radical reform universally applicable, it is recommended that education for citizenship should focus on the struggle against injustice within the school itself : what counts as fair ? how should conflicts be handled ? how can rules be introduced allowing people to live together ? how can mediation be made to work ?

Institutional pedagogy as moral education, François Jacquet-Francillon (INRP, University of Lille III)

Fernand Oury’s ‘institutional pedagogy’ contains a complete theory of moral education. On the one hand, it treats the school class as a moral environment, closely regulated by custom ; and on the other, it recommends shaping pupils’ moral outlook by instilling the ideals of mutual recognition and respect among equals, ideals which the famous Cooperative Council is designed to realise through the practice of discussion and collective self-reflection.

Wounded memories, uncertain morality, Sophie Ernst (INRP)

Can one base moral education in schools on the memory of the Holocaust ? This is what is proposed by the well-known idea of a ‘duty not to forget’, of ‘never again’. Despite the consensus there are many problems. On the one hand, the ‘negative commemorations’ which every democracy now faces are as yet imperfectly handled. On the other, schools have a stressful and contradictory attitude towards moral education. Although the general idea of this is intuitively acceptable, the prevailing secular ethos has difficulty in finding where it stands amongst such competing considerations as identification with the victim, valuing heroism, and scientific detachment. Perhaps we also hesitate about lessons to be learnt and we do not understand well enough how to relate a ‘fundamental’ moral code to an ‘elementary’ one.

Homophobia : a new stake for the education to the citizenship ?, Jean-Paul Martin (University of Lille III)

The struggle against homophobia could constitute today a stake to test principles and methods in the education to the citizenship, in so far as it interrogates the contradiction, frequently raised, between values proclaimed by the institution and real practices. To explore this hypothesis the article leans on a few analyses making state of pupils victims of homophobias and silences observed by the school. It asks on the nature of help that could bring the school to the struggle against this type of discrimination. Distinguishing particular homophobia and homophobia in the large sense, it tries to show how, in the two cases, this fight concerns the whole of actors of the school. Then it proposes, as basing on the analysis of the movie No one is similar, to think which devices for sexual norm discussion can be used in the secondary teaching, in the goal to validate some common norms.

The place of norms in books for three to six year olds, Maria Pagoni-Andréani (University of Lille III)

The author asks whether and if so how children’s literature for three to six year olds could be a resource for moral education. The underlying hypothesis is that the main aim of such an education would be to help children to distinguish a concern for others’ interests from egocentricity. The first stage in the research, described in this article, consists of examining five children’s books on the theme of friendship, so as to reveal the internal conflicts (with oneself) and the external conflicts (with the social environment) found in the friendships among the characters. The analysis shows that the pedagogical function of these books is to lead children to reflect on the creation of a personal ethic based on a concern for other people and awareness of a strong interdependence between oneself and others.

Studies : Fernand Deligny : evasion, deviation and attempts at education, Béatrice Han Kia-Ki (CIPH)

Children’s lives, as seen by Deligny, are nameless, in the margins of history and ordinary space. So they live by other geographies and follow other paths. Education, according to Deligny, can only be evasion : evasion from models and institutions, detachment from society, and a stance of rejection – of morality, psychology, even of affection. In a world of ‘they’, the deviation constituted by agentless behaviour, the individual ventures on uncertain paths and something forms up as a ‘place between’ where ‘we’ can be found.

Studies : Can Rousseau understand Emile?, Pierre Billouet (IUFM Pays de Loire)

One might imagine that the attachment to liberty which marked the Enlightenment would lead Kant and Rousseau both to hold the same modern theory of education. And since Emile predates the Critique of Practical Reason and Kant’s lectures on education, one might imagine that Rousseau would be Kant’s educator before becoming that of Claparede, Montessori, Dewey or Freinet. But since the idea of nature was equivocal in Emile and in the Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau’s pedagogy lacks coherence at the conceptual level. It cannot therefore be dignified with the title of a rational ideal for education : the age of reason, based on systematic critical reflection, is far from the aesthetic awareness of a natural self.