, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 3-14

The Unnatural Nature of Nature and Nurture: Questioning the Romantic Heritage

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Abstract

From a cultural-historical perspective, nature and nurture (and thus education) are contested concepts. The paper focuses on the nature/nurture debate in the work of William Shakespeare (influenced by Montaigne) and in the Romantic tradition (evidenced by Rousseau and Wordsworth), and argues that while our Romantic inheritance (still highly influential in education) problematises nurture, it tends to mystify nature. Given that conceptions of nature are culturally driven, there is an urgent educational challenge to problematise nature as well as nurture.