childhood: pedagogy or education?


  • rené schérer Université Paris 8


Pédagogie, Éducation, Dispositif, Enfance, Pasolini


This paper delivers a critique of ―pedagogy‖ as currently understood, and opposes to it a more neutral concept, viz ―education.‖ It argues that although certainly children should be educated, it is not a necessary or universalizable claim that it must be subjected to a pedagogy, in the sense of a "pedagogical device." I begin by offering a precise and restrictive definition of pedagogy as form of education under the full control of an adult that guides the child. It should be noted, however, that this word in its classical and contemporary usage no longer has the same meaning as it did in ancient Greece. From that notion of pedagogy, I retain the central concept of surveillance, associated with specific educational practices designed to bring the student to learn willingly—that is, to "capture" or "catch" him--to seduce him. However, both the modern and the ancient sense of the word imply the same type of devise, but simply in reverse. ―Devices‖ should be conceived—as Deleuze says of Foucault‘s use of the term—as lines or vectors that give rise to or set up, within each historical period and in response to specific historical problems, specific institutions. These lines do not map well-defined contours--they do not limit or circumscribe but cross, traverse, and gather what was organized otherwise, or what remained in a state of dispersion. They lead to the appearance of a new configuration. Among contemporary artists and philosophers, Pier Paolo Pasolini appears to be the only one who saw and described the current process of childhood pedagogization; that is, both a process of subjectivation and an indication of an eventual possibility of a reversal of power--a pedagogical revolution that allows the child to achieve this constantly promised autonomy that is always refused by traditional pedagogy. In fact Pasolini outlines a new pragmatic in opposition to all the currently accepted doctrines of teaching



How to Cite

schérer, rené. (2012). childhood: pedagogy or education?. Childhood & Philosophy, 1(1), 187–200. Retrieved from