Issue n° 44

Opening, Plinio W. Prado Jr. (Paris VIII University)

Moral chronicle : Our visite of the 28th March 2013 to the school of la Neuville, François Jacquet-Francillon (Lille III University) and Camille Suzanne Savio (Psychologist)

The school of Neuville was created in 1973 on the basis of institutional pedagogy with therapeutic guidelines. The school takes as boarders children from six to fifteen years in trouble with the traditional school. During their visit, the authors were looked after by two students who guided them through the establishment. They discussed its way of operation with a class, saw the boarding section (which separate units for girls and boys), observed two small meetings where the group dealt with small conflicts of everyday life, and attended the « General Council » which overviews the general regulation of the school. The document they have produced also shares their impressions, their thoughts on the scope and value of this type of « active learning », the opportunity to speak, equality and reciprocity, taking into account each person’s dignity, sensitive application of rules This is an education that could be exemplary because it attains « a high degree of humanity ».

Notion : Institution, Valentin Schaepelynck (Paris VIII)

After recalling the former existence of the term ‘institution’ in sociology (Durkheim, Mauss), the author notes with Boltanski the strange nature of the concept, which is foundational in sociology, but which lacks focus in its uses and its multiple meanings, and whose epistemic status is uncertain.. The article then rebuilds the concept based on institutional psychotherapy (Tosquelles, Oury) to consider the gap with the concept of « establishment ». Based on institutional pedagogy, he introduces a series of concepts: standard, discipline, symbolic violence, conflict that allow him to describe the field and to characterize its dynamics. The « institutional analysis » is then defined as a critical psychology of institutions (Lapassade), aiming to disclose covert functioning and power issues. The analysis may be applied in the practical field in the form of social and political challenges.

Report: « Mastering and Education » : the Jacotot – Rancière case

Presentation, Antoine Janvier (Liege University)

Jacotot, Rancière : an essay in historical contextualization, François Grèzes-Rueff (Toulouse II University – Le Mirail)

What the theses of Rancière and Jacotot have in common is that they each mark a break in their times by making equality of (intelligences/social position) the main principle of emancipation through education. From this follows their anarchic, even utopian character. The article, however, proposes to re-situate the two authors in their historical context: the experience of Central Schools and of Protestantism, the status of the student and the asymmetry of the « teaching » relationship. These issues are connected with European construction of the democratic individual (obedience to group norms vs. releasing individual initiative), the « cultural revolution » of the 1960s, which reaffirms the radical centrality of the idea of equality.

Between the master and the pupil. A study of Le Maître ignorant by Jacques Rancière, Patricia Verdeau (Toulouse II University – Le Mirail)

Jacques Rancière’s book, Le Maître ignorant (The Uneducated Teacher) presents a very specific relationship between the teacher and the student that could be summed up in this way: the teacher knows nothing, the student learns. But this application foregrounds a very specific relationship, that of an « egalitarian intellectual bond ». The author is thus led to wonder how this relationship can be characterized, before secondly considering how a detour by the terms of the relationship can be illuminating. Finally, she attempt to examine how Rancière moves away from both educational theories and theories of the subject to establish links between relationship and subjectivity. In reviewing the concept of will, Rancière actually rethinks the subject. « To will, it’s just to be able to declare oneself capable, it is always to recognize the same capacity as anyone else ». The relationship between teacher and pupil and is the site of a new inter-subjectivity that can also illuminate the anti-Socratism of Jacotot.

From « uneducated teacher » to » liberated observer ». The two faces of emancipation, Michel Peroni (Lyon II University)

In the first section the author takes up once more the criticism directed by J. Rancière against Bourdieu’s sociology on two main points: the lack of awareness of social relations of production and the method of sociological intervention in the social sphere. Based on this critique, Bourdieu condemned pedagogy to impotence, ignoring the question of « understanding » and making of the sociologist a « master explainer ». Then reprising the arguments of the Emancipated Spectator, it shows the limits of a logic of emancipation to undo the hierarchical order of roles, and the more radically emancipatory dimension of « spectator » (all of us) capable of making new links, varying starting points, making roles equal. Michel Peroni can then explain how the Rancière’s concept of emancipation can join his own project of « radical sociology ».

The status of principles and standards of critical thinking in J. Rancière – the case of The Uneducated Schoolteacher, Julien Pieron (Liege University)

Through a reflection on the principle of equality of intelligences as formulated and problematized in The Uneducated Schoolteacher, the author tests a larger assumption about the status of the principles in the thought of Jacques Rancière: that of the essentially pragmatic effectiveness of the principles and standards of criticism, always detached in an immanent fashion from the conditions and effects of individual acts of language. Starting from the claim that social life is presented as a combination of principles of equality and of inequality and after tracing the outline of the « epistemology » of Jacotot/Rancière and the cogito which underlies it, the author seeks to show how the second principle is thought of as the absence of the former, and to provide the basis for a rational ethics that aims in every situation to support the « side of equality ».

Impossible mastery: Towards a positive use of « The Uneducated Schoolteacher », Andrea Cavanzini (Liege University)

The Uneducated Schoolteacher develops, according to the author, as a self-sufficient narrative maintaining a complex relationship with a past that is de-historicized, subjective, transparent and appropriate to maintain the myth that it embodies. For Andrea Cavazzini the project of education based on the principles of equality, symmetry and the supersession of the school teacher as of the master of knowledge, is an « untenable » position such as those of psychoanalysis and its leading advocates (Freud, Lacan). The idea of education (training) for emancipation and refers to a radical impossibility found in the revolutionary history of the twentieth century. These are the Bolshevik revolution and the Chinese cultural revolution whose experiences exacerbate and sanction the failure of the party as educator and the idea of self-emancipation of the masses in the movement of their self-education. The hypothesis of Rancière can then be taken up again by a new reflection on the nature of the « organization » on the interventions required for such a project.

Studies : Ovide Decroly: the cinema at the service of child psychology?, Sylvain Wagnon (Montpellier 2 University)

Decroly’s relationship with cinema is a little known aspect of his work. But it occupies an important place as an instrument of psychological and educational research and as a means of dissemination of this work. From 1906 he used it to observe the behavior of children of the Institute, an approach that was initiated in the previous decade by the Neurological Society. With the support of director Antoine Castile, he then conducted methodical observations on newborn infants and on children’s learning (setting tests). As a teaching aid, the film is aimed at children but also in scientific communication with K. Gesell and A. Gesell in the International Congress and within the l’Association Internationale de films pour l’Education Nouvelle. Cinema thus became a privileged tool of observation and analysis serving burgeoning field of experimental pscho-pedagogy.

Studies : The Sciences and philosophy in The Magasins pédagogiques of Madame Le Prince de Beaumont, Sonia Cherrad

The eighteenth century hardly acknowledges the place of scientific knowledge in the education of girls. Madame Le Prince de Beaumont is an exception who introduced into her works concepts from physics, chemistry, biology or astronomy, in their most current and lively forms (debates on the theory of Newton ) and avoiding the use of marvels (about electrical phenomena). In the tradition inaugurated by Fontenelle in order to explain simple experimental situations, she draws on dialogue and metaphor. The natural philosophy of Madame de Beaumont is inspired by Descartes which means she bases it reflection and observation, leaving room for doubt and in this way also leaving open role for religion. This generates a skillful balance between the demands of popular science in the spirit of the Enlightenment and the social requisites of education for girls.