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