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South African Journal of Education

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Education sciences, schooling, and abjection: recognizing difference and the making of inequality?

T Popkewitz

Abstract




Schooling in North America and northern Europe embodies salvation themes.
The themes are (re)visions of Enlightenments' projects about the cosmopolitan
citizen and scientific progress. The emancipatory principles, however, were
never merely about freedom and inclusion. A comparative system of reason was
inscribed as gestures of hope and fear. The hope was of the child who would
be the future cosmopolitan citizen; the fears were of the dangers and dangerous
people to that future. The double gestures continue in contemporary school
reform and its sciences. American progressive education sciences at the turn of
the 20th century and contemporary school reform research are examined to
understand their different cultural theses about cosmopolitan modes of life and
the child cast out as different and abjected. Today's cosmopolitanism, different
from that in the past, generates principles about the lifelong learner and its
cosmopolitan hope of inclusion. The inclusionary impulse is expressed in the
phrase “all children can learn”. The child who stands outside of the unity of “all
children” is disadvantaged and urban. School subject research in music at the
turn of the 20th century and today's mathematics education are exemplars of
the inscriptions of hope and fears in the sciences of education. The method of
study is a history of the present. It is a strategy of resistance and counter praxis
by making visible what is assumed as natural and inevitable in schooling.

Keywords: educational sciences; history of present; politics of schooling;
reform; social inclusion/exclusion

South African Journal of Education Vol. 28 (3) 2008: pp. 301-319



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