, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 307–324 | Cite as

The community of those who have nothing in common: Education and the language of responsibility

  • Gert Biesta


In this paper I explore different ways to understand the idea of community. Using the work of Alphonso Lingis, I make a distinction between the rational community and the community of those who have nothing in common. The latter community is the community in which we are all strangers for each other. I argue that the language of the latter community is the language of responsibility. It is this language that enables us to speak with our own, unique and individual voice. I argue that education and educators should be concerned with the latter form of speaking. Therefore, the community without community, which exists as the interruption of the rational community, is the most important, and ultimately the only relevant educational community.


Community responsibility education Alphonso Lingis Zygmunt Bauman postmodernism communication language Emmanuel Levinas 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gert Biesta
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education and Lifelong LearningUniversity of ExeterExeterEngland, UK

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