Theoretical pedagogy in general refers to the reading of social reality as if it were a text (cp. “linguistic turn”). That is to say, it deals with social reality as if it were ruled by completeness, closeness, unambiguity and linearity (cp. Oser 1997, Wulf 2007). In a further step important pedagogical concepts such as competences, efforts, learning processes etc., also “gender” are textualized, standardized and even metrified. Analogously, in school it is widely regarded as the main aim to impart available knowledge and abilities oriented at certain objectives.
In both approaches pedagogical theory and practice is to a great deal reduced to certain norms and to definite interventions in well-defined pedagogical situations.
This resembles the reduction of today´s pedagogy to the perspective on caring and its normative framing on the one side, and to a high esteem for the personality, responsibility and also the autonomy of the child on the other side. Both approaches are deeply based in the tradition of Enlightenment (cf. Adorno 1947).
In the year 1979, Francois Lyotard proclaimed the “end of master narratives“ such as “emancipation”, “autonomy”, “societal progress” etc. By the postmodern movement the self-interpretation, the contingency, discoursivity and the stage-character of phenomena was stressed. In theoretical and empirical research the concept of “objectivity” is problematized, and the principle of consensus is put at stake and is investigated. The paradigm shift is initiated by referring to the materiality of the body, of experience and of history. By this, also new fields of social research are opened up, beside others “gender” as an interpretative process and as a social ascription.
In pedagogy concepts such as implicit knowing (Polanyi, Neuweg, Mayr et al.), anthropological approaches that describe human existence by terms like performativity and mimesis (Wulf, Zirfas, Tervooren et al.), and phenomenological approaches (Merleau-Ponty, Waldenfels, Meyer-Drawe et al.) that refer to corporeality and bodyliness can be regarded as a reference and as an answer to this paradigm shift. In my contribution I will make up some main points of these latter approaches and compare them in terms of their “gender”-concepts.
NERA 2015, 43rd Annual Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA), Gothenburg, March 4-6, 2015.