Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 487–501 | Cite as

The elementary forms of educational life: understanding the meaning of education from the concept of “social responsivity”

  • Jonas AspelinEmail author


This article makes a theoretical contribution to social psychology of education by applying Johan Asplund’s social psychological theory to the educational context. More specifically, the article discusses how the question of purpose of education (Biesta in Educ Assess Eval Account 21(1):33–46, 2009; God utbildning i mätningens tidevarv [Good education in the age of measurement]. Liber, Stockholm, 2011) could be conceived from Asplund’s (Det sociala livets elementära former. [The elementary forms of social life]. Bokförlaget Korpen, Göteborg, 1992) concept of “social responsivity”. Adopting Asplund’s concept, I problematize, discuss, and supplement Biesta’s model, especially his concept of “subjectification” and from here tentatively examine “existentialisation”. Existentialisation is proposed as a tool for understanding the overall meaning of education. To illustrate the theoretical argument, a brief classroom episode is analyzed in detail.


Asplund Biesta Existentialisation Social psychology of education Social responsivity Subjectification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education and EnvironmentKristianstad UniversityKristianstadSweden

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