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The Journal of Philosophy of Education Book Series

The Journal of Philosophy of Education Book Series publishes titles that represent a wide variety of philosophical traditions. They vary from examination of fundamental philosophical issues in their connection with education, to detailed critical engagement with current educational practice or policy from a philosophical point of view. Books in this series promote rigorous thinking on educational matters and identify and criticise the ideological forces shaping education.

Titles in the series include:

  1. Re-Imagining Relationships in Education: Ethics, Politics and Practices
    Edited by Morwenna Griffiths, Marit Honerød Hoveid, Sharon Todd and Christine Winter
  2. Education and the Growth of Knowledge: Perspectives from Social and Virtue Epistemology
    Edited by Ben Kotzee
  3. Vygotsky, Philosophy and Education
    Jan Derry
  4. Education Policy: Philosophical Critique
    Edited by Richard Smith
  5. Levinas, Subjectivity, Education: Towards an Ethics of Radical Responsibility
    Anna Strhan
  6. Philosophy for Children in Transition: Problems and Prospects
    Edited by Nancy Vansieleghem and David Kennedy
  7. Reading R. S. Peters Today: Analysis, Ethics, and the Aims of Education
    Edited by Stefaan E. Cuypers and Christopher Martin
  8. The Good Life of Teaching: An Ethics of Professional Practice
    Chris Higgins
  9. The Formation of Reason
    David Bakhurst
  10. What do Philosophers of Education do? (And how do they do it?)
    Edited by Claudia Ruitenberg
  11. Evidence-Based Education Policy: What Evidence? What Basis? Whose Policy?
    Edited by David Bridges, Paul Smeyers and Richard Smith
  12. New Philosophies of Learning
    Edited by Ruth Cigman and Andrew Davis
  13. The Common School and the Comprehensive Ideal: A Defence by Richard Pring with Complementary Essays
    Edited by Mark Halstead and Graham Haydon
  14. Philosophy, Methodology and Educational Research
    Edited by David Bridges and Richard D Smith
  15. Philosophy of the Teacher
    By Nigel Tubbs
  16. Conformism and Critique in Liberal Society
    Edited by Frieda Heyting and Christopher Winch
  17. Retrieving Nature: Education for a Post-Humanist Age
    By Michael Bonnett
  18. Education and Practice: Upholding the Integrity of Teaching and Learning
    Edited by Joseph Dunne and Pádraig Hogan
  19. Educating Humanity: Bildung in Postmodernity
    Edited by Lars Lovlie, Klaus Peter Mortensen and Sven Erik Nordenbo
  20. The Ethics of Educational Research
    Edited by Michael Mcnamee andDavid Bridges
  21. In Defence of High Culture
    Edited by John Gingell and Ed Brandon
  22. Enquiries at the Interface: Philosophical Problems of On-Line Education
    Edited by Paul Standish and Nigel Blake
  23. The Limits of Educational Assessment
    Edited by Andrew Davis
  24. Illusory Freedoms: Liberalism, Education and the Market
    Edited by Ruth Jonathan
  25. Quality and Education
    Edited by Christopher Winch
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Notes on Contributors

Rebecca Adami Department of Education, Stockholm University, Frescativägen 54, Stockholm, SE-10691, Sweden

Ruth Cigman Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Institute of Education, 20 BedfordWay, London WC1 OAL, UK

Arnhild Finne Department of Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Loholt Alle, NTNU, Trondheim, NO-7491, Norway

Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, Texas Tech University, Box 41071, Lubbock, TX 79409-1071

Morwenna Griffiths Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Thomson's Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ, Scotland, UK

Marit Honerød Hoveid Department of Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Loholt Alle, NTNU, Trondheim, NO-7491, Norway

Rachel Jones Department of Philosophy, George Mason University, Robinson Hall B, GMU, Fairfax, VA-22030, USA

Aislinn O'Donnell Faculty of Education, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, South Circular Road, Limerick, Ireland

Amy Shuffelton Cultural and Educational Policy Studies, Loyola University Chicago, 820 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL-60611, USA

Sharon Todd Department of Education, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland

Caroline Wilson Duoda, Women's Research Centre, University of Barcelona; Postal address: 57 High Street North, Crail, KY10 3RA, Fife, Scotland, UK

Christine Winter Department of Education, University of Sheffield, 388 Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 4BJ, UK


Work in philosophy of education has, especially since the late 1980s, turned to the study of relationships in its espousal of the idea that education is or ought to be something other than a faceless enterprise bent solely on social reproduction and the sterile transmission of knowledge. A broad spectrum of theorists who embrace a range of philosophical outlooks—pragmatism, hermeneutics, psychoanalysis, Levinasian ethics, feminism and posthumanism, to name the most influential—speak of the connections, attachments and affiliations between people as essential features of any education worthy of its name. Although there is wide variation in terms of characterizing relation as that which occurs between individuals, persons, subjects, beings, or psyches, this strand of educational thought has crystallized around the idea that being with others in relation is a primary condition of our educational life. Such ideas set themselves against any account of education that is bereft of the ‘human’ element, and they specifically speak against the new technocracy ushered in by what some see as a neo-liberal agenda, or market-driven interests.

What this book brings to the table is a re-imagining of relationships in education that both draws upon and extends earlier work in the field while also bringing new theoretical insights to bear on contemporary practices in education. It focuses on conceiving not only the dyadic aspects of the teacher-student relation, but reframes the idea of relationships as being intrinsically linked with the ethical and political nature of education itself. It also extends our conceptions of relationships beyond the humanist enterprise. Thus, the relationships discussed here simultaneously deal with both the micro-level of educational interaction and the macro-level of what meaning such relationships have within the context of wider society.

Aside from this major unifying point, one of the striking characteristics of this book is the diversity represented by the chapters as a whole. On one level such diversity reveals itself in terms of the different philosophical perspectives explored in relation to our common theme of educational relationships. In this regard, the chapters range across the philosophical thought of Hannah Arendt, Samuel Beckett, Jacques Derrida, Félix Guattari, Luce Irigaray, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-François Lyotard, Luisa Muraro, Plato, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Mary Wollstonecraft, to name a few. On another level, diversity appears in the very rendering of what ‘relationships’ mean, and further what makes them ‘educational’. The relationships between school-community, curriculum knowledge and subjectivity, human and nature, and bodies and experience are some of the ways in which relationships are depicted as being linked to views of education that are not only about formal settings, but about questions of life, existence, and change. This indicates to us that there is a perceptibly felt need to broaden and extend the scope of what constitutes relationships, and particularly what meaning they can have for, in and through education. On yet another level, ‘diversity’ itself operates as a philosophical idea or assumption in many of the essays. Attention is granted to the plurality of meaning, for instance, generated through our actions, our narratives, and our encounters with literature, nature, and other human subjects, all of which are always already relational. Moreover, since relationships themselves are presented here as being both plural and diverse, traditional conceptions of autonomy, singularity, unity and failure are reconsidered as embodying complex dynamics, connections and affiliations. Such diversity demonstrates that the purpose of re-imagining relationships is thus not about offering a single, unified response to complex educational questions, but to open up a landscape of thought, where new kinds of questions can be raised.

The background for the group of women authors in this book is the annual Women in Philosophy of Education symposium, sponsored by PESBG. A way of philosophizing has developed over the course of these seminars which we argue is pivotal to a development of philosophical thought in education. The working format, enabling both the individual and the collective approach to philosophizing is something we have pursued in this book. For example, in the events leading up to this book, we held discussion-based seminars. There, we all presented our works in progress, which had been read in advance by everyone, and then we critically discussed with the authors how to extend and strengthen their work. The seminars were where the idea for this book was generated. Over the course of the past year we have had not only the usual extensive e-mail contact, but two face-to-face meetings—one in Limerick, the other in Stockholm—to comment and work on each other's texts. This was in many ways a time-consuming process, but it was rewarding in terms of building good professional relations and developing our scholarly work. Through respect, listening, and much laughter we have created an environment where everyone committed and continually recommitted themselves to the work we started off a little over a year ago. Such commitment, we venture, was only possible through the collaborative community created by this process. This is for all of us—editors and authors included—a wonderful accomplishment and stands testament to the idea that collaboration lies at the heart of seeking excellence in our academic work.

Morwenna Griffiths

Marit Honerød Hoveid

Sharon Todd

Christine Winter