Towards Rhythmic Caring: Cultivating Sceptical Pedagogical Encounters

  • Yusef Waghid


In the previous chapters, I have articulated understandings of caring in relation to inclusion, practicality, authenticity, pragmatism, attentiveness, democracy and empathy. In my view, such understandings of caring can be enacted within pedagogical encounters. However, as I shall argue in this chapter, inasmuch as such moments of attachment come to the fore in encounters, at the same time there can also arise moments of detachment in the encounters on account of scepticism that surface, with reference to Stanley Cavell’s (1997) ideas. The rise of scepticism is a real possibility within caring pedagogical encounters. Pursuant to the latter idea, pedagogical encounters might appear to be caringly inclusive, practical, authentic, pragmatic, attentive, democratic and empathic; yet, momentarily, such encounters might also become encounters characterised by moments of non-inclusion, im-practicality, un-authenticity, non-pragmatism, in-attentiveness, non-democracy, and non-empathy. My concern in this chapter is with both the attachment and momentarily detachment from caring. Hence, I am drawn to a notion of rhythmic caring within pedagogical encounters on the grounds that the act of rhythm connects with fluctuations of attachment and detachment or giving and taking. It is not that a particular understanding of caring is abandoned but instead, it is advanced on account of some sceptical lapse that unfolds within pedagogical encounters – a moment of holding back as humans advance to cultivate their relational experience. By way of example, in my doctoral encounters with students, I experience moments when I advance my understandings of particular theoretical views on democratic educational theory. Then, for a while, I hold back my justifications and wait for students to articulate their autonomous ideas on such a theory of education. In this sense, my encounters with students are not relational only, but also characterised by moments of holding back and advancement vis-à-vis theoretical ideas. My encounters with students can therefore be described as rhythmic. In this chapter, I firstly, offer an account of rhythmic caring, and secondly, I show how other notions of caring as elucidated in the previous chapters can be extended to sceptical moments within pedagogical encounters. Concomitantly with the latter, and thirdly, I move on to a discussion of how pedagogical encounters might unfold when rhythmic caring is at play.


  1. Agamben, G. (1994). The man without content (G. Albert, Trans.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Cavell, S. (1979). The claim of reason: Wittgenstein, skepticism, morality, and tragedy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yusef Waghid
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationStellenbosch UniversityCape TownSouth Africa

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