This contribution explores what it might mean to perform educational research in a manner that proceeds from an assumption of incompetency. We focus on a recently developed academic research centre, the Laboratory for Education and Society, where recognition of incompetency trumps that of expertise, and research is focused on a concern for ‘the present’, rather than, say, the past or the distant. As such, researchers must expect research to involve a transformation of their selves: the kind of research performed is not only about education, but educational in itself. Also, the exploration of new methodologies is itself an object of research. Thus the term ‘Laboratory’ gives credence to the view that finding ways to do the right kind of research is itself part of what is at stake. Research at the Laboratory is multidisciplinary and acts as an “empirical philosophy”. Furthermore it is closely connected to a Masters programme organized by the Laboratory. Given this, concrete educational practices are also researched; and these turn out to be research activities themselves that aim at stimulating an experimental attitude, i.e. preparing students to respond adequately, and in their proper name, to the challenges and immediacies of the present.
- Care for the self
- Experimental attitude
- Practices in thought
- Empirical philosophy
- Alternative academic curriculum