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Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 505–520 | Cite as

Moments of Goodness: An Analysis of Ethical and Educational Dimensions of the Terror Attack on Utøya, Norway (July 22, 2011)

  • Aslaug Kristiansen
Article

Abstract

The analysis is based on some moral experiences taking place during a terrorist attack on the Norwegian Labor Party’s youth camp on the island of Utøya (outside of Oslo) July 22, 2011, where 69 young people were killed and several seriously injured. After the attack many of the survivors told stories of how strangers spontaneous had helped and cared for each other. In the midst of the horror there occurred sudden “moments of goodness” or “points of light” that revealed hope for the persons involved, as well as for the society. The article examines these spontaneous moral practices in light of moral educational theory, as well as discusses the terrorists own way of thinking and acting. The spontaneous practices point toward another basis for a moral approach then a cognitive development tradition. The importance of community is underlined, as well as an interpersonal dimension. In the last section the fostering of moral and ethical thinking and acting is discussed in light of general education and the three functions of education proposed by Biesta (Beyond learning: democratic education for a human future. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, 2010). It is suggested that moral education could contribute something to all of the three dimensions but based on the experiences from Utøya, there will be a particular emphasis on the subjectification function of education.

Keywords

Spontaneous moral practice Community Goodness Proximity Terrorism 

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Newspapers

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of AgderKristiansandNorway

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