In this paper I explore the question of how toapproach the writings of Emmanuel Levinas fromthe point of view of education. I argue thatLevinas has challenged the modern conception ofsubjectivity which underpins modern education.Instead of providing a new conception ofsubjectivity, his work should be understood asan attempt to account for the awakening of theuniqueness of the subject in ethical terms. Thecentral idea is that we come into presencethrough responding, through taking up – or notdenying – the undeniable responsibility whichprecedes our subjectivity. Levinas not onlyprovides us with a new way to `understand'subjectivity. `Responding' also suggests a wayto approach Levinas's writings that goes beyondthe simple application of his `truths' toeducational practice. Levinas's writingschallenge their reader to articulate a unique,unprecedented response. It is argued that thepapers to which this paper is a response alldisplay this approach to Levinas's writings. Itis further argued that `responding' is not onlya way to read Levinas, but ultimately a way tothink about education itself. To learn (fromLevinas) is to respond (to Levinas).
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Biesta, G.J.J. (1998a). Pedagogy without humanism. Foucault and the subject of education. Interchange, 29(1), 1–16.Google Scholar
- Biesta, G.J.J. (1998b). Say you want a revolution.' suggestions for the impossible future of critical pedagogy', Educational Theory, 48, 499–510. See alsoGoogle Scholar
- Biesta, G.J.J. (1999a). Radical intersubjectivity. Reflections on the 'different' foundation of education. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 18, 203–220.Google Scholar
- Biesta, G.J.J. (1999b). Where are you? Where am I? Education, identity and the question of education. In Carl Anders Säfström (Ed), Identity: Questioning the logic of identity within educational theory (pp. 21–46). Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
- Levinas, E. (1981). Otherwise than being or beyond essence (trans. A. Lingis). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
- Levinas, E. (1989). Ethics as first philosophy. In S. Hand (Ed), The Levinas reader (pp. 75–87). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Levinas, E. (1998). Entre-nous: On thinking of the other. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Llewelyn, J. (1995). Emmanuel Levinas. The genealogy of ethics. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Rancière, J. (1991). The ignorant schoolmaster. Five lessons in intellectual emancipation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Usher, R. & Edwards, R. (1994). Postmodernism and education. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Wimmer, M. (2001). The gift of bildung. Reflections on the relationship between singularity and justice in the concept of bildung. In G.J.J. Biesta & D. Egéa-Kuehne (Eds), Derrida & Education (pp. 150–175). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar