Issue n° 42

Opening, Laurence Cornu (Tours University)

Moral chronicle : The little soldiers of the Republic, Alain Vergnioux (Caen University)

Literature designed for young people has two aims: the first is to entertain and the other, through its presentation of childhood and adolescence, to contribute to education. In this respect the first period of the Third Republic (1870 to 1914) presents some strikingly interesting features. Curricula and stories for young people unite their efforts, on the one hand morally and by means of appropriately adapted physical exercises to prepare the young generation for revenge on Germany and, on the other hand, to give young people models of civic pride, of courage and of patriotism.

Notion : Responsibility, Eirick Prairat (University of Lorraine)

The challenge addressed by this article is to devise an educative ethic at present when the right keeps gaining ground. In the first section, Eirick Prairat shows that traditional morality was constituted by an ethic of example and of responsibility in the sense that responsibility means responsibility for oneself. In the two sections that follow, the thought of Lévinas and of Jonas allows for an examination of how responsibility takes on a moral dimension. ‘becoming responsibility for the other’. The last sections, inspired by the thinking of Levinas, define the contours of an ethic of responsibility.

Report: The Child and the War

Presentation, Brigitte Frelat-Kahn and Sophie Richardot

The ‘Maries-Louises’, Jean-Marc Largeaud (Tours University)

Napoleon’s army was based on the principle of conscription but in 1813, 1814 the losses suffered in the Russian campaign and the numerical inferiority of the Great Army forced the inclusion of younger and younger people. The young recruits of the year 1815 were to be called the Maries-Louises but the question to be asked is: how many and in what proportions? Jean-Marc Largeaud gives a detailed account from the available historical sources of variations by department and of the actual involvement of these young soldiers in the field. Indeed the name itself came later, even if it is used for the first time by Colonel Fabvier in 1819. It is the novels Le conscrit de 1813 (1864), Waterloo (1865) by Herckmann-Chatrian and then those by Edward Montier Les Marie-Louises (1911) and by Henri Houssaye 1814 (1888) which give it shape in the literature. It is the war of 1914-1918 that comes to give a definitive status to the representation of youth in arms, heroic and defending the country.

Avoiding war by imitating the ‘military model’ : the pacifist pedagogy outlined by Alain, Baptiste Jacomino (ISFEC Marseille)

Alain wished to place the school in the service of peace. Wars, he writes, have only one cause: passions. Now education can do a lot to curtail passions. Thanks to the humanities, to geometry and to mechanical exercises, the child can be saved from fanaticism and from the tensions that lead to wars. While defending this line of pacifism, Alain invites the teacher to find inspiration in the ‘military model’. He seems to think that discipline, though at times harsh, allows the child to develop confidence in her or himself. Thanks to this confidence, she or he can learn to doubt and to mistrust her or himself, freeing her or himself in this way from all traces of fanaticism. There are therefore in Alain’s work paths to build a pacifist pedagogy in part inspired by the ‘military model’. It is matter only of paths or suggestions rather than a perfectly articulated and clear doctrine.

The generation of the Great War: childhood experiences of the first world conflict, Manon Pignot (Jules Verne University of Picardie)

From the first year of the conflict, the war of 1914 gave rise to an discourse of ideological and practical mobilisation of children according to the values of patriotism, of sacrifice, indeed of guilt. They were recruited to make parcels and clothes for the soldiers on the front or for the wounded but school was not ignored. But the author shows that the conflict also meant the experience of fathers being absent, of role reconfigurations within families, the importance of letters sent and received and, for the northern regions, the experience of evacuation or the weight of occupation, and of mourning for the disappearance of relatives and neighbours.

Janusz Korczak et Friedl Dicker-Brandeis : two teachers of freedom in the world of the Nazi concentration camp, Sophie Richardot (Jules Verne University of Picardie)

The article deals with two teachers who, at the heart of the world of the Nazi concentration camp, pursued a common aim: to set up spaces of freedom for oppressed Jewish children. The first one is Janusz Korczak (1878-1942), who is a well-known writer in Poland, a paediatrician by training whose ideas inspired the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the 1980s. The second person is Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898–1944), an Austrian artist who taught art to Jewish children interned in the camp at Theresienstadt to which she was sent before being gassed in Auschwitz with some of her pupils. The article shows how in these extreme conditions both succeeded in developing a pedagogy firmly oriented towards freedom. He highlights the setting up of these various spaces and their effects on the children. He shows that these spaces, although they took different forms, were underpinned by the same conception of the child.

The inheritors of silence or the construction of a second memory, Florence Dosse

The war in Algeria (1954-1962) affected a million who were called up and who on their return did not wish to, or could not, talk about what happened to their families or later to their children. The children were under the influence therefore of a ‘second’ memory of a sketchy nature passed on unconsciously. The research conducted by Florence Dosse with these soldiers discloses several layers of memory burial. These include the silence regarding what was not considered a real ‘war’ enforced by the army, at the institutional and political levels, as well as indifference and further denial in social circles. The curtain quickly fell on a war without name and the page had to be turned. For children the war that their fathers fought has remained ‘without resonance’ but they have nonetheless inherited in an unstructured way the weight of a shameful and guilty memory. How is it possible to re-establish the truth of the what happened and to make the reality known and to make the ‘event’ part of history?. The answer seems to be through the mediation of the school and the construction of a shared memory.

Children born of rape: questions, silence and transmission, Marie-Odile Godard (Jules Verne University of Picardie) and Marie-Josée Ukeye (Jules Verne University of Picardie)

Soon it will be ten years since the genocide of the Tutsi shook Rwanda. It took place over one hundred days and caused more than a million deaths. Survivors are striving to rebuild a country, a culture, life that is tainted by this genocide. For all that in Rwanda after the genocide, society has endeavoured to forbid mention of ethnicity, to make school compulsory, to try those responsible for genocide in the Gacaca courts, to create a fund to help the survivors of the genocide (FARG), some children carry within them the marks of the genocide. We wish here to refer to children born of rape of their young or older mothers. They are now between sixteen and seventeen years old and their words become clearer as we listen to them. What do they know of their history? Who told them about it? How can they cope with the weight of knowledge concerning those who were responsible for their conception? We shall study the journey of these children and of these mothers based on accounts provided in two kinds of group session. One is with the women who were victims of rape and the other with the children born as a result of rape.

Jus ad bellum, jus in bello, childhood destroyed, Denis Poizat (Lyon II University)

The suffering or death of children goes further than the right to go to war or any moral or political regulation of violence in the course of wars and beyond. The taking of child hostages in a school and the massacre of children in bombardments invalidate the idea of a just war. To bolster his argument, the author draws on the novel Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky, the monstrous criminality of Gilles de Rais and the spectre of chemical warfare. The child becomes at once the irrevocable witness and the ultimate arbiter of the violence and cruelty of war and at the same time the most telling voice of pacifist protest.

Studies : Lipman versus Piaget : a misguided quarrel about philosophy for children, Laurent Fedi (Strasbourg University)

After reminding readers of the different ways in which the ‘philosophy for children’ movement has developed, Laurent Fedi highlights the controversy (or rather misunderstanding) that has occurred between its advocates and Piaget’s account of the genesis of reasoning in the child. There are misconceptions concerning the role that he attributes to discussion and cooperation, his stances in support of the use of active methods in the school, his commitment to positions advocated by Dewey and the role he attributes to socio-cognitive conflict, especially in the area of moral development. Whatever difference there is,ought to be situated at another level, namely, in Piaget’s acceptance of the model of scientific research rather that of the teaching of philosophy in the school. The author proposes in conclusion an evaluation of ‘philosophically oriented discussion’ as a means to promote critical thinking and a capacity for reasoning.