Karin Murris

Karin Murris
University of Oulu · Faculty of Education

PhD

About

121
Publications
48,736
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1,152
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Introduction
Karin Murris is Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Oulu (Finland) and Emerita Professor of Pedagogy and Philosophy, University of Cape Town (South Africa). She is a teacher educator and grounded in academic philosophy and a postqualitative research paradigm, her main interests are in childhood studies, democratic postdevelopmental pedagogies and school ethics.
Additional affiliations
June 2012 - present
University of Cape Town
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (121)
Article
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Critical posthumanism is an invitation to think differently about knowledge and educational relationality between humans and the more-than-human. This philosophical and political shift in subjectivity builds on, and is entangled with, poststructuralism and phenomenology. In this paper we read diffractively through one another the theories of Finnis...
Article
Responding to the invitation of this special issue of Childhood and Philosophy this paper considers the ethos of facilitation in philosophical enquiry with children, and the spatial-temporal order of the community of enquiry. Within the Philosophy with Children movement, there are differences of thinking and practice on ‘facilitation’ in communitie...
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Inspired by the philosophies of Donna Haraway and Karen Barad, the aim of this paper is to stir up trouble and to double trouble time in education. We trouble how certain views of childhood shape our experience of school time and secondly, we trouble the way in which time as experienced in school, affects how adults relate to childhood. A particula...
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The authors bring together decolonial, place attuned, and critical posthumanist orientations to analyze an event during a residential workshop organized as part of a state-funded research project on decolonizing early childhood discourses in South Africa. An invitation during the workshop to grapple with what might be unsettling by attending to the...
Article
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Spaces tend not to “announce themselves through verbal language”, hence the popularity of video-research because it enables visibility of “the complex set of bodily presences and absences, movements in the space, material details, colours, sounds, and rhythms” (Mengis, Nicolini and Gorli, 2016, pp. 2, 4). Moreover, videography enables repeated play...
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Conceptions of child and childhood have been variously (re)constructed by adults throughout history, and yet systematic questioning of the epistemological, ontological, political, and ethical assumptions informing these conceptions remains a relatively new field of academic inquiry. The concepts of child and childhood are philosophically problemati...
Chapter
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Karin Murris’ interview elaborates on the “posthuman” child, as well as decolonizing teacher education. Inspired by the work of Karen Barad, Karin speaks profoundly about reading and writing diffractively. For Karin, diffraction in research means that instead of finding an “answer,” diffraction opens up different possibilities to think through and...
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This paper explores an inhuman reading of ‘hands’ with/in visual images of a Finnish literacy lesson. Inspired by Karen Barad’s agential realism and the ontological turn, we disrupt a metaphysics of presence, the temporality of progress and binary logic, to reconfigure the child in literacy practices as a sympoietic phenomenon, always already assem...
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Discourses and relations of child/adult and early education are super-permeated with ideas and practices of authority and boundary-making. In early years' practices, deeply important beliefs and assumptions about who or what has authority and who or what should create the boundaries of everyday activity often go unquestioned. This produces differen...
Chapter
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Childing: A Different Sense of Time Cara's "Image-nings" - In this chapter we tell the story of the impact of a Childhood studies course on Cara, one of the students, through images she made of Karin ( the lecturer). Striking is how Cara's course "Image-nings"(her journal documentation) express a shift in subjectivity, disrupting the lecturer/stude...
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This paper emerges from experiences of putting picturebooks, philosophy with children and posthumanism into play. Responding to Derrida's notion of a ‘return to childhood’, we propose a different move of ‘re-turning to child/ren’, drawing from various entangled sources. First, the figuration of posthuman child (Murris, 2016) disrupts the conception...
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In this paper, we use a diffractive reading developed by feminist philosopher and quantum physicist Karen Barad, as part of a response-able methodology, in order to consider the claim made by Serge Hein in his paper ‘The New Materialism in Qualitative Inquiry: How Compatible Are the Philosophies of Barad and Deleuze?’ (2016) that the philosophies o...
Chapter
A rapidly increasing number of books and articles are written about posthuman pedagogies in schooling, but practical pedagogical guidance for preparing student teachers in higher education for such a dramatic ontoepistemic shift is slow coming forward. Inspired by Rosi Braidotti’s (Metamorphoses: Towards a materialist theory of becoming. Blackwell...
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This article explores how three well-known conceptual frameworks view child development and how they assume particular figurations of the child in the context of the South African National Curriculum Framework for Children from Birth to Four. This new curriculum is based on a children’s rights framework. The capability approaches offer important in...
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Re-turning to our experiences of putting a diffractive methodology to work ourselves, as well as engaging with the writings of Donna Haraway and Karen Barad, we produce some propositions regarding a diffractive methodology for researchers to consider. Postqualitative research disrupts the idea that educationalists can be given tools or techniques t...
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This chapter gives an overview of how the substance ontology of Western philosophy thrives on the power producing Nature/Cuture dichotomy, has caused asymmetical violence, infiltrated everyday language, created academic divisions, produced hierarchical categories and classifications, and underpins colonialism and colonising notions of relationships...
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In this paper, we give a flavour of how, against the odds, Reggio-Emilia-inspired pedagogical documentation can work in reconceptualizing environmental education, reconfiguring child subjectivity and provoking an ontological shift from autopoiesis to sympoiesis in teacher education. Working posthuman(e)ly and transdisciplinarily across three founda...
Book
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Literacies, Literature and Learning: Reading Classrooms Differently attends to pressing questions in literacy education, such as the poor quality of many children’s experiences as readers, routine disregard for their thinking and the degrading impact of narrow skills measurement and comparison. This cutting-edge book moves beyond social, psychologi...
Chapter
Motivated by the still visible signs of colonialism and lack of transformation at the University of Cape Town (UCT), black South African student Chumani Maxwele threw human feces at the statue of British colonist Cecil Rhodes on March 9, 2015. The action led to the removal of the statue, during which the author took a photo of black South African f...
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Situated in the context of children’s rights, this article reports on a study involving children from 11 countries and 5 continents in philosophical discussions about concepts of child and childhood. Here we focus on seven of those countries. In a previous study, two of the authors explored in what kind of society children would like to live. The p...
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Philosopher of Education, Gert Biesta, presented at the 18th ICPIC conference in Madrid and published his paper in this same Special Issue. In this paper, I put these in the context of current transdisciplinary conversations in academia about posthuman subjectivity. By paying close attention to the self/world relationality implied in what Biesta pr...
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Review essay: Propositions for posthuman teaching and research: a diffractive re-view of three books Snaza, N. & Weaver, J.A. (eds). 2015. Posthumanism and Educational Research. New York and London: Routledge. ISBN: 978-1-138-78235-8. Hbk, 203 pp. Taylor, C.A. & Hughes, C. (eds). 2016. Posthuman Research Practices in Education. Basingstoke, Engla...
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After situating the figuration of the postdevelopmental child in the context of hegemonic colonising developmental discourses about child rearing and education, I engage with posthumanist perspectives that rupture the binaries, power relations and age discrimination these discourses assume. Developmentalism raises concerns about how child as knower...
Book
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This rich and diverse collection offers a range of perspectives and practices of Philosophy for Children (P4C). P4C has become a significant educational and philosophical movement with growing impact on schools and educational policy. Its community of inquiry pedagogy has been taken up in community, adult, higher, further and informal educational s...
Chapter
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In this paper iii explore what child is (and is not) in the light of a posthumanist ontology and epistemology. One of the new thoughts that e/merges from my diffractions with Karen Barad’s (2007, 2014) relational materialism is to use the pronoun ‘iii’ to express subjectivity or ‘bodymindmatter’. Instead of ‘I’ or even ‘i’, the proposition is to us...
Chapter
In this chapter we give an account of our philosophical engagement with picturebooks, a ground-breaking genre of literature-art, our identification of criteria for picturebook selection, and our exposition of picturebooks as philosophical texts (Murris 1992, 1997; Haynes 2007; 2008; Haynes & Murris 2012; Murris 2016). We reflect on the wider contes...
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In my paper, I discuss student, teacher-centred and ‘post-postmodern’ educational relationality and use Karen Barad’s posthuman methodology of diffraction to produce an intra-active relationality by reading three familiar figurations through one another: the midwife, the stingray, and the pregnant body. The new educational theory and practice that...
Article
This article discusses the idea of intra-generational education. Drawing on Braidotti’s nomadic subject and Barad’s conception of agency, we consider what intra-generational education might look like ontologically, in the light of critical posthumanism, in terms of natureculture world, nomadism and a vibrant indeterminacy of knowing subjects. In or...
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Critical posthumanism focuses on difference, rather than identity, and queers humanist philosophy that has its roots in western metaphysics, which has had a strong humanist articulation since Descartes. Humanism centres on the autonomous adult self as sole source of knowledge production, and instils binaries that marginalise, divide and dichotomise...
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The book The Little Prince by writer, poet and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery (published in 1943) has delighted readers of all ages and continues to fascinate and enthral until today. The story draws on Saint-Exupery's own experiences as a pilot who crashed his plane in the desert in 1935, but in the novella he recounts this moment as involving a...
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This article reports on a philosophy for children (P4C) literacy project in a South African foundation phase classroom that introduces an important new focus in the P4C classroom: the visualisation of philosophical ideas provoked by the picture book The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit (2004) by Chris Wormell, giving voice to young chil...
Book
The Posthuman Child combats institutionalised ageist practices in primary, early childhood and teacher education. Grounded in a critical posthumanist perspective on the purpose of education, it provides a genealogy of psychology, sociology and philosophy of childhood in which dominant figurations of child and childhood are exposed as positioning ch...
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Encyclopedia entry - overview
Chapter
Each year I teach Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students a short course on school ethics. A core part of the course is to analyse a case study—a moral dilemma that the students themselves have drawn from their own experiences during teaching practice in one of the university’s local partnership schools. In 2014 it involved a disclos...
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The article begins with setting the South African educational context for a postgraduate early literacy research project in the foundation phase (ages 4–9). The research examines how philosophy with children (P4C) might be part of a solution to current problems in reading comprehension. The second author reports on her P4C action research with her...
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In her book Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (2007), Miranda Fricker introduces the helpful notion of “identity prejudice” as “a label for prejudices against people qua social type” (Fricker 2007, p. 4; my emphasis). She focuses on race, class and gender, and Michael Hand in his article What Do Kids Know? A response to Karin Mur...
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The philosophy for children curriculum was specially written by Matthew Lipman and colleagues for the teaching of philosophy by non-philosophically educated teachers from foundation phase to further education colleges. In this article I argue that such a curriculum is neither a necessary, not a sufficient condition for the teaching of philosophical...
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Using a posthuman conceptual framework, I analyze in detail Anthony Browne’s complex decisions about censorship and child protection in the process of creating the written text and the images in his picture book Little Beauty. Analysis of this work exposes many contradictions located in the relationship between science/art, animal/human, fantasy/re...
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We start our paper with a critical exploration of the current “back to basics” approach in South African foundation phase teacher education with its emphasis on strengthening the teaching of subject knowledge. We claim that such a proposal first demands an answer to the question “what is foundational in foundation phase teaching?”. We propose an an...
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In this paper I argue that insufficient attention is paid to the explicit teaching of comprehension in South African literacy policies and practices. Like elsewhere, governments reinforce the existing curriculum gap by trying to solve the achievement gap in early literacy. I substantiate my claim through a critical analysis of a report commissioned...
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Education for transformation and social justice calls for critical, reflective, imaginative and independent thinkers with enquiring minds and a strong sense of curiosity – the ends and means of what Jonathan Jansen calls a ‘pedagogy to disrupt’ and Gert Biesta a ‘pedagogy of interruption’. For this reason, I introduced an innovative pedagogy in som...
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Meanings in a picturebook are constructed in the space between words, images and reader. Contemporary picturebooks are ideal vehicles for a deep reading of, and philosophical engagement with, texts that move beyond literary and literacy knowledge. Philosophy with picturebooks also offers an alternative to personal responses to these texts that are...
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Censorship of children's voices takes many forms: restricting access to texts, constraining the space in which they are viewed, failing to validate children's responses, interpreting their ideas within limiting perspectives on children's thinking. This paper considers the educator's role in discussion with children, drawing out the connections betw...
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Classical conceptual distinctions in philosophy of education assume an individualistic subjectivity and hide the learning that can take place in the space between child (as educator) and adult (as learner). Grounded in two examples from experience I develop the argument that adults often put metaphorical sticks in their ears in their educational en...
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Philosophical teaching gives permission to learners to explore the meaning of texts by drawing on their own experiences. By thinking out loud, they construct new meanings of texts. As a result of this oral work, what texts mean shifts in the unique relationship between text and reader and include child's voice. If educators nurture children's compe...
Article
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Practitioners of education in South Africa (SA) struggle painfully between the extremes of its authoritarian and deeply religious roots that prescribe blind obedience to people in authority and their elders, and the demands of open-mindedness, critical thinking and also solidarity required for democratic citizenship. A particular pedagogy was used...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
The aims of this collaborative project with Sheffield University is to explore the contemporary play environments of children in the UK and SA (two very different cultural settings) in order to identify the ways in which children’s play is shaped by technology, to examine the relationship between digital play, learning and creativity, and to explore the role of adults in mediating digital play.
Project
Research in a Cape Town informal settlement using posthuman pedagogy for teaching and learning in remedial English classes