Issue n° 30


Notion : Gangway, Nathalie Dupont (Université de Caen)

Gangway is a polymorphous term and it has multiple meanings. It can mean a moveable temporary bridge, a structure used as a means of access, an anonymous and difficult link, a place of supervision from which orders are given, a structure used for hiding or advertising, a display area for artistic creations of a political character, places of friendly exchanges, a device to facilitate study or even a metaphor for human relationships. Defined metaphorically and re-expressed in terms of artistic practice, it discloses all these hidden nuances. When linked to’culture’ ‘education’ or ‘art’, it implies a passing on. It evokes notions of crossing and transformation. It invites on a journey steeped in imagery.

Moral chronicle : Why the notion of ‘language’ no longer exists?, Sophie Oliveau-Statius

It is no longer possible to speak of ‘language ‘ as of a singular and homogeneous entity. The author conducts a two part enquiry, firstly highlighting debates concerning illiteracy and to the claims of sociolinguistics. In both of these instances, a normative notion of language is strongly condemned – a notion that is responsible for all the failures of the school in this sphere. The author then continues the enquiry by distinguishing within linguistics three approaches, all of which have pedagogic implications, which inform these changes in orientation, The ‘variationist’ takes languages to be a ‘huge variable’ ; the  ‘interactionist’ approach takes language to be a contextualized activity between agents ; and, according to a final approach the very notion of language is replaced by that of ‘linguistic and language competences’.

Report: Thinking Education through

Presentation, Pierre Statius

New Tasks for Philosophy of Education, Denis Kambouchner (Université de Paris 1 – Sorbonne)

Firstly the author claims that philosophy of education in France is little appreciated and finds little resonance in the wider world. He also finds that there is an increasing need for critical enquiry into the aims and methods of delivery of education. How, asks the author, have we reached this state ? He distinguishes and examines three kinds of problem : pragmatic, moral and social or cultural. He then points out the directions that should be taken and the obstacles to be avoided in order to have a coherent conception of education.

The concept of teaching : a logical analysis, Michel Le Du (Université Marc Bloch – Strasbourg)

According to the oldest tradition, philosophy is the art of making distinctions in keeping with those which belong to nature. In this article distinctions will be made in terms of language use. Drawing on the work of I. Scheffler, the author analyses the notion of teaching and distinguishes its semantic fields in accordance with a logic of separation (intention versus result; capacity versus competence) a logic of use (to teach that as opposed to saying that; teaching as opposed to telling someone), etc. Certain implications follow from this logical analysis. It provides sound arguments that cast doubt on claims of Piaget and Kohlberg on moral education, as well as on P. Bourdieu’s notions of habitus, norm and capacity.

Philsophy of education and philosophy of the subject – Towards a philosophical enquiry into the modern face of subjectivity in modern educational experience, Eric Dubreucq (IUFM de Basse-Normandie)

In the first part of the article, the author critically examines Michel Foucault’s analyses in Discipline and Punish, and shows how power becomes internalized by the individual and how the inculcation of norms and the subject’s affirmation of the self are mutually supporting. What, asks the author, do we understand by behaviour? Foucault’s conception varies between subjection and subjectivity. When applied to education, his theory leads to an aporia or seeming impasse. Neither the claims of self-development or of a moulding by outside forces can be accepted. In the second part the discussion is continued on the basis of the problems posed by ‘a relationship with oneself’. This raises other concerns in education today. These concerns include the dimension of love, especially maternal love, conveyed by the maternal model of the primary teacher, and the valorization of the child’s activity, especially through the form of free play. The author concludes by suggesting the idea of a philosophy of education that would take the form of a genealogy of experience of the self, capable of conceptualizing the manner in which the child is ‘summoned’ to become the subject of her or his interiority.

Pedagogy and Politics : Some reflections based on an observation of Maria Montessori’s, Yves Cusset

If the justification of pedagogy lies in its ‘practical’ dimension, what is its actual character ? In the first part of the article, the author examines the subjective conditions for teaching in order to establish its normative goals. He identifies in the work of Maria Montessori and in the manner in which she poses the question of childhood (without rights or power) the conditions for an ‘ emancipatory pedagogy expressed in terms of the moral and political demands of welcoming ‘. Within this perspective and in the light of on-going debates, ‘teachers’ are more ‘ politically involved ‘ than ‘political activists’ and pedagogy ought to be conceived, in the manner of J. Rancière, as a critical theory of education.

Approaches from Foucault and Bourdieu, Hervé Touboul (Université de Franche-Comté)

This educational enquiry is conducted on the basis of a negative awareness on the part of the author of the aim of which the Ecoles normales were the institutional and collective expression. M. Foucault offers some keys to understanding this history. An épistèmè of representation and of analysis, of classfication and of exchange, creativity and naturality. In addition to this, P. Bourdieu’s radical perspective describes society in its divisions and class oppositions, with their crieria of distinctions. Psychopedagogy apears as the expresion of a new ideology of ownership. The psychologization of educational institutions allows for every kind of manipulation, at the same time as the tactic of the ruling classes was to maintain the pre-eminent postion of secondary school classes and of the grandes écoles.

Philosophy of Education in an historical perpective, Pierre Kahn (IUFM de Basse-Normandie)

Far from representing philosophy of education as  ‘something basic’, or indeed even as an ‘area of study’, historical analysis shows that the subject developed when teachers of philosophy in teacher education institutions found themselves ‘without work’ on two occasions. This first occasion was when preparation for the baccalauréat and philosophy class were removed from the curriculum in the Ecoles normales. The second occasion was when the republican reorientation of schools in 1984 removed psychopedagogy from programmes of teacher education.

Studies : Emile Beaussire (1824-1889) and the dispute about the godless school, Laurent Fedi (IUFM d’Alsace)

Unfairly neglected in the history of the school under the Third Republic, Emile Beaussire gives expression among republicans to a liberal and moderate approach with which Jules Ferry had to come to terms. Moderate, nuanced and pragmatic in approach, Beaussire defended freedom in teaching but supported the religious orders and criticized monopoly in schooling. According to Beaussire reason requires the idea of God as a basis for morality, but the freedom of religion ought to be limited by the State, because freedom of conscience and public harmony take precedence over everything.. His spiritual beliefs made him circumspect regarding the principle of laïcité and the notion of tolerance was his preferred principle.