, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 15-29

First online:

Beyond Re/Presentation: A Case for Updating the Epistemology of Schooling

  • Gert J. J. BiestaAffiliated withSchool of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of Exeter Email author 
  • , Deborah OsbergAffiliated withSchool of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of Exeter

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In this paper we wish to argue that despite strong challenges to representational epistemology in the last two centuries, modern schooling is still organised around a representational view of knowledge. This is the case despite teaching practices being modified to accommodate different views of knowledge that have emerged in the last two centuries. This means, if schooling is to be brought in line with current epistemological trends, there is still a case for updating the epistemology of schooling. Our analysis shows, however, that this update will not leave the idea of modern schooling in tact. Updating the epistemology of schooling, so we argue, requires a fundamental rethink of the purposes of schooling.


Schooling representation presentation epistemology knowledge curriculum pedagogy emergence complexity signification