Iris Marion Young's Imaginations of Gift Giving: Some implications for the teacher and the student

Educational Philosophy and Theory 38 (1):83-92 (2006)
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The paper discusses Iris Marion Young's idea of asymmetric reciprocity that rethinks typical understandings of gift giving. Iris Marion Young's proposals for asymmetric ethical relationships have important implications for democratic contexts that seek to take differences seriously. Imagining oneself in the place of the other or expecting from the other what one expects from oneself levels out differences between people and hinders possibilities of interaction. The conditions of asymmetry and reciprocity of Iris Marion Young's communicative ethics, as well as that of the unexpected as understood within situations of gift giving, bring about new readings of learning and teaching situations. The paper discusses issues of power and knowledge that have important ethical implications for how the relationships between the teacher and student could be imagined and how the teacher and student imagine themselves. Following Derridean underpinnings to Young's notion of asymmetric reciprocity the paper questions pedagogic attempts that seek to minimize the asymmetric positions of the teacher and the student and challenges educational practices based on the reproduction of knowledge and reproduction of persons. The paper follows Young's arguments against Derrida's reading of asymmetry as being one sided. It argues that such a reading does away with the idea of teaching and learning altogether as teaching necessarily involves acts of responding. It continues to argue that Young's conceptualizations of gift giving as reciprocal and asymmetrical open up alternative understandings of the pedagogic relationships between teachers and students.



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Simone Galea
University of Malta

Citations of this work

Philosophy, Kairosophy and the Lesson of Time.Marianna Papastephanou - 2014 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 46 (7):718-734.
Exploring ‘Gift’ Theories for New Immigrants' Literacy Education in Taiwan.Ho-Chia Chueh - 2012 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 44 (10):1110-1120.

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