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From biographical research to the concept of the Pedagogical Self: looking at educational theories from a self-psychological perspective

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After some introductory remarks about the “non-clinical” tradition of psychoanalytic thinking the main part of the presentation will deal with the possibilities of a self-referentially orientated biographical research using life and work of Pestalozzi as a paradigmatic example. The leading question is how biographical circumstances, early childhood experiences and special life events may have influenced both the content and form of his pedagogical thinking and educational theorizing. The answers given to this question will clearly demonstrate the usefulness of psychoanalytic concepts in analyzing and understanding educational theories. In many cases their theoretical forms seem to be “contaminated” by individual experiences and conflicts. To put it differently: educational theories often tend to have a specific “context of discovery” (Reichenbach) which – at least to some extent – can be brought to light by psychoanalytic means. A psychoanalytic look of this kind on educational theories offers several perspectives for further research which will be shortly outlined using “The Pedagogical Self” as an umbrella term for the different challenges that the collective educational consciousness has to deal with.

Prof. Dr. Volker Kraft (Dipl.-Päd./Dipl.-Psych.) is Professor for Educational Science, Socialpedagogy, Psychology and Counselling in the University of Applied Sciences Neubrandenburg and a member of the Faculty of Philosophy of Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel). He is also an accredited psychotherapist working in the Kohutian tradition with his own clinical practice and member of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology (IAPSP). He is currently a Visiting Fellow at St Edmund’s College attached to the Von Hügel Institute.

This talk is part of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain: Cambridge Branch series.

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