In-Between Child and World: Educational Responsibility with and against Arendt

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Abstract

A key aspect of the educator's responsibility as understood by Hannah Arendt is its dual character. Educators are responsible for both the life and development of the child and the continuance of the world, as Arendt puts it in "The Crisis in Education." Moreover, these aspects of responsibility are in tension with each other. Arendt's own accounts of responsibility in her political writings are, in a similar way, riddled with tension. What should we conclude from this about the nature of educational responsibility? To address this question, Julien Kloeg and Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens first reconstruct the meaning of responsibility in Arendt's political writings. They find a broad distinction between political responsibility and personal responsibility: the former consists in contributing to a community (by extension, the world), and the latter in the "two-in-one" of silent self-dialogue. While political responsibility is close to Arendt's description of the responsibility of the educator (for the continuance of the world), personal responsibility does not find an obvious home in her educational thought. From this ambiguous situation of education and Arendt's own theme of the "in-between" arises the possibility of introducing a concept of educational responsibility that further develops Arendt's position. Kloeg and Noordegraaf-Eelens's concept of educational responsibility suggests a theory and practice of navigating tensions between conflicting commitments. In their view, this is both an appropriate extension and reform of Arendt's educational work and an insight that does justice to the practical situation of educators in the modern world.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Theory
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2024

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© 2024 The Authors. Educational Theory published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Board of Trustees,University of Illinois.

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