Dissertation, Stockholm University (2020)

What if education were not about becoming something, making something of yourself, becoming some thing? What if we were to consider education as becoming-world? These questions are posed against the background of the current populist nationalist backlash against the consequences of globalization, along with growing anti-intellectualism and anti-democratic sentiment. How can education contribute locally and globally to fostering and safeguarding the very possibility of democratic practices against the neoliberal consecration of reified social relations? Becoming Things, Becoming-world contributes to contemporary discussions in philosophy of education by developing a vision of a critical educational cosmopolitanism founded upon a renewed critique of reification. While cosmopolitan education has often been articulated in terms of an ethical and political response to globalization, this thesis proposes a different outlook. I argue that the idea of cosmopolitan education predates the onset of what we now term globalization, and that it provides a meaningful conception of education beyond the present socio-political condition. Moreover, I propose to rethink cosmopolitan education as a critique of reification, i.e. a critique of social relations taking on the character of mere things. The critique of reification helps to foreground aspects that have previously been neglected and marginalized in educational cosmopolitanism, such as its economic-material dimensions. At the same time, a critical cosmopolitan perspective is needed for a timely de-centering of critical social theory. Re-assessing the Cynic tradition and drawing on critical theorists such as Gerard Delanty and Axel Honneth as well as on New Wittgensteinian philosophers as Alice Crary, I advance a post-universalist understanding of cosmopolitanism. This is based on dynamic social relations and a broad understanding of rationality which includes imaginary aspects as well as the education of our sensitivities. Cosmopolitanism is understood as a lived practice which critically challenges reified social and cultural relations, including the strictures of particular socio-economic structures. The notion of reification is distinguished from other forms of alienation, objectification and instrumentalization and is deployed to characterize lasting distortions of our relations to each other, to the world and to ourselves. Against any idealizing take on communicative practice, I show that language, knowledge, and education do not necessarily counter-act reifying tendencies. Indeed, they themselves can become sources for enhancing processes of reification. A fresh look at the critique of reification allows us adequately to describe and understand the interrelation between contemporary capitalism, the forms of subjectivity it produces and the possibilities of democratic education and education towards democracy. Such an understanding is needed in face of the apparent impossibility of imagining a society, and envisioning an education, beyond the conditions formulated by contemporary neoliberal policies. Education as becoming-world maintains a hopeful outlook on the possibilities of our globalizing and pluralizing social reality as well as a keen focus on the tensions and challenges that this poses for contemporary educational endeavors on individual as well as structural levels.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,107
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.

View all 64 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Idea of University in a Cosmopolitan Perspective.Peter Kemp - 2012 - Ethics and Global Politics 5 (2):119-128.
The Who and the What of Educational Cosmopolitanism.Hannah Spector - 2015 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 34 (4):423-440.
Confucian Cosmopolitanism.Philip J. Ivanhoe - 2014 - Journal of Religious Ethics 42 (1):22-44.
The Process Matters: Moral Constraints on Cosmopolitan Education.Matthew J. Hayden - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (1):248-266.
Reason and Culture in Cosmopolitan Education.Leonard J. Waks - 2009 - Educational Theory 59 (5):589-604.
What is Reification? A Critique of Axel Honneth.Timo Jütten - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (3):235-256.


Added to PP index

Total views
2 ( #1,416,013 of 2,454,629 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,377 of 2,454,629 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes