R. Cowen and A. M. Kazamias (eds.), International Handbook of Comparative Education, 379–395.
© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008
THE DOUBLE GESTURES OF COSMOPOLITANISM
AND COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF EDUCATION
Thomas S. Popkewitz
If might seem a contemporary cliché when I say that my thinking about comparative
education is in a context of globalization. Intuitively, what else can the study of com-
parative education be except in a broader ﬁ eld that takes into account cross-national
and “global” changes? As I say this, I admit a hesitation as “globalization” has the sta-
tus of the planetspeak, to draw on the work of António Nóvoa (2002). It is a word that
appears “everywhere” to explain everything, and without any author. My hesitation,
however, is tempered historically, in part, through the insights of world systems stud-
ies and neo-institutional theory that relate the formations of the modern school and
nation-forming from the nineteenth century to the present (Meyer et al., 1992, 1997).
My interest, however, enters the comparative study of schooling from a different
intellectual terrain. This chapter focuses on the systems of reason through which the
objects of schooling – the child, family, and teacher – are produced and administered.
That is, schools are historical sites to change society by changing people. That is what
pedagogy does. Modern pedagogy is the major social/cultural site where children are
taught how to reason and problem solve and to become “reasonable people.” The prin-
ciples of teaching and learning, I will argue, are concerned with the production of
“reasonable people” through generating cultural theses about modes of living. The
cultural theses are not merely variation of a single theme such as modernization or
globalization. If one looks at the Chinese school reforms of May 4 Movement in 1919,
US Progressive Educations, or current discourses about the Learning Society and the
Lifelong Learner, they entail different cultural and institutional assemblies and con-
nections about who the child and teacher are and should be. Understanding schools
comparatively, then, is in considering historically the changing principles generated as
the cultural theses of who the child is and should be.
My approach to the comparative qualities of the system of reason of schooling is
through the notion of cosmopolitanism (Popkewitz, 2008). Cosmopolitanism, I argue,
is at the heart of schooling. In its northern European Enlightenment traditions, cosmo-
politanism embodied the radical thesis about human agency, participation, and science
as an emancipatory project of humanity. That enlightened individual places faith in the
application of reason and rationality in directing change, and for the self-improvement
and progress of society that respect for diversity and hospitality and compassion for
* The thesis of cosmopolitanism and reform is drawn primarily from Popkewitz, 2008.
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“Others.” Schooling, or at least modern schooling, is concerned with the making of
the child as the future citizen of the nation who embodies cosmopolitan characteristics.
Further and oddly enough, the reason of the cosmopolitan that was to be inclusive
embodied comparative inscriptions to order the phenomena and people. The “reason”
of European modernity recognized and differentiated “others.” When brought into
schooling, the very universalizing principles about humanity and emancipation of the
pedagogical practices carried its opposites, the child who did not “ﬁ t” in and thus was
excluded from the inscribed qualities and characteristics of the cosmopolitanism.
The cosmopolitanism in schooling, however, is not merely the dissemination of
Enlightenment notions in a world system. Rather, there are different assemblies, con-
nections, and disconnections that produce cultural theses of the cosmopolitanism of the
child and collective belonging. The reason and “reasonable person” in pedagogy are
linked with principles of collective belonging and home. This might sound ironic, as the
European cosmopolitanism was to shed the provincialism of the nation. Yet it did not and
its particularism is embedded up to the present in schooling. The “enlightened” individu-
ality was not the same “person” in the making of Brazil, Belgium, Japan, or Britain.
The ﬁ rst section considers schooling as embedded in processes of globalization in
the long nineteenth century to the present.
The analysis draws from the US and Europe
educational “reform” sciences and policies concerned with restructuring teaching and
teacher education. I argue that the modern schooling was to remake society through
remaking the child who was to become the future citizen.
Pedagogy embodied cul-
tural theses about the mode of life of that cosmopolitanism. But embodied in pedagogy
were comparative distinctions to differentiate and divide “the civilized” cosmopolitan
from“the uncivilized.” The next section explores the traveling of Dewey’s pragmatism
as a historical exemplar of cultural theses about cosmopolitanism and its “Others”
in reforming society at the turn of the twentieth century. The ﬁ nal section looks at
the comparative instantiations of cultural theses in contemporary school reforms. It
examined what I call the unﬁ nished cosmopolitan who is the lifelong learner that lives
through the continuous making of choices and innovation and its Others – the disad-
vantaged, the at-risk, immigrant, and the “child left behind” who are recognized for
inclusion yet cast out as different and potentially dangerous to the stability and consen-
sus. The ﬁ nal section draws the analysis into considering the theoretical implications
of cosmopolitanism as cultural theses for comparative studies of schooling.
My use of cosmopolitan is diagnostic and not normative. It is to consider the distinc-
tions and differentiations that partition sensibilities in ordering children’s cognition,
problem-solving, and collaboration in “communities of learning,” to use commonsense
words of contemporary reforms. The “ism” of cosmopolitanism is to give attention to
the different assemblies and connections through which the principles of reason and
reasonable people are produced rather than to treat the word as a distinctive doctrine.
Modern Schoolng in a Historical Context of Global Processes
Four brief points raised in the introduction are discussed. First, modern schooling is embed-
ded in processes of globalization from at least the long nineteenth century to the present.
Second, the notion of cosmopolitanism is a strategy to consider the changes in the cultural
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The Double Gestures of Cosmopolitanism and Comparative 381
theses about modes of living in schooling. Third, the sciences of school pedagogy inscribe
principles of reason that ordered the cosmopolitanism of the child. Fourth, the universal,
transcendental qualities of the cosmopolitan child embody a comparative method that
inscribes the cultural thesis of the cosmopolitan child and processes of abjection that dif-
ferentiates, casts out and excludes particular “other” children in processes of inclusion.
1. Modern schooling is embedded in processes of globalization that relate to
changes associated with the long nineteenth century. This does not mean that
there are no continuities and overlapping with prior schooling, as the histori-
cal studies of David Hamilton (1989) continually illustrates. Rather, particular
conﬁ gurations of contemporary schooling become apparent through changes in
pedagogy and its theories of the child.
The purpose of modern schooling is to remake society through remaking the child.
The founding ﬁ gures of the American and French Republics recognized this. The citi-
zen was not born but made. Democratic participation was “something that had to be
solicited, encouraged, guided, and directed” (Cruikshank, 1999: 97). The maintenance
of the nation was dependent on making the citizen who was self-governing and par-
ticipating in social affairs.
Education was central in making of the individuality on whose participation modern
government was dependent. One might say that the problem of social (re)construction of
society through schooling was placed at the foot of the child. Mass schooling was seen as
essential to the producing of the individual who embodied the transcendental principles
of nation. Brazilian, Mexican, Columbian, and Chinese school reforms into the early
twentieth century, for example, embodied cultural theses about the child’s reﬂ ection
and participation that linked salvation notions of the individual with the nation (Buenﬁ l
Burgos, 2005; Warde, 2005; Qi, 2005; Sáenze-Obegón, 2005). The Swedish Torsten
Rudenschöld in the 1800s spoke of a cosmopolitanism when thinki ng of the school as
producing “the free will of individuals” in society (cited in Hultqvist, 2006). The intro-
duction of the vernacular language in China after the May 4 Movement of 1919 can be
read as well as bringing a different relation between people and collective belonging,
albeit different from that of European and North American schooling (Qi, 2005).
2. Central to the pedagogy of the school was cultural theses about the cosmopolitan-
ism of the child. Both in the West and outside of it, notions of cosmopolitanism
emerged to join secularization processes of individual agency and progress with
salvation themes of redemption that was tied to the nation that had some irony.
The northern European and North American Enlightenments spoke of cosmo-
politanism as a universal mode of living in which reason and rationality provided
for a more progressive world of freedom and liberty. That cosmopolitan world
was quickly inserted in the particular narratives and images of nations. The
different progressive pedagogical ideas embodied in John Dewey, G. Stanley
Hall, Edward L. Thorndike, and George Counts in the twentieth century, for
example, inscribed cosmopolitan principles in the planning of schooling and the
child. These principles embodied cultural narratives about “American excep-
tionalism,” the nation as an epic account of the progressive development of the
highest ideals of cosmopolitan human values and progress.
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3. Cosmopolitanism joined science with reason in effecting change in one’s own
life and community. As the physical sciences could master the natural world,
science was viewed as a way to order and artiﬁ cially intervene in the natural
order to effect change and human progress.
The notion of human science, however, had different conﬁ gurations in providing
for change. Science provided knowledge, for example, about the planning that enables
conditions for the pursuit of happiness and liberty. Urban planning, the formation of
the modern welfare state, were instances of the relation of science to ﬁ nding the right
mixture of knowledge and strategies for social development. Reform became a con-
stant activity. And that reform of society also entailed principles for governing the
cosmopolitan society through planning modes of living. The sciences of pedagogy, for
example, made the interior of the child a site of intervention. Dewey’s problem-solving
and Hall’s child development and growth gave an order to life through designing the
processes and procedures of “thought” that gave consensus and stability to the rules
and standards applied for action and the future.
Psychology is central to pedagogy. If I focus on Europe and North America,
psychology opened up the interior of the child as the site of calculation and interven-
tion in the pedagogical. Speculative and analytical psychologies were replaced with
experimental psychologies in diverse sites that moved across Russia, German, and
the US. The beginning of modern schooling, pedagogy, and its sciences of educa-
tion, do Ó (2003) argues, was designed to act on the spirit and the body of children
and the young. Examining French and Portuguese pedagogy at the turn of the twen-
tieth century, do Ó explores the method of the pedagogical sciences as observing and
making visible the inner physical and moral life in order to map the spirituality of
the educated subject (“the human soul”). The French pedagogue, Gabriel Compayré
in 1885 asserted that pedagogy is an applied psychology and the sources of all the
sciences “that are related to the moral faculties of man; pedagogy contains all the
parts of the soul and must use always psychology” (cited in do Ó, 2003: 106). The
purpose was, however, not to ﬁ nd God but to provide knowledge that helps to free
man through the path of reason.
5. The narratives of cosmopolitan reason and science embodied salvation and
redemptive themes that traveled along with practices of rationalization. In an
almost counterintuitive sense, Western mass schooling cannot be adequately
understood without understanding the Reformation and Counter Reformation.
Themes of individual salvation were secularized as earthy concerns of progress
and the organization of daily life (Weber, 1904–1905/1958) that become embed-
ded in constructions of modern pedagogy (McKnight, 2003; McMahan, 2001).
The secularization and modernization processes of the Kemalist Revolution in
Turkey during the twentieth century, as well, entailed modernization processes
that assembled European enlightenment projects with those contained within
the Ottoman Empire and its Islamic traditions (Kazamias, 2006). A similar
argument can also be expressed with the Japanese modernization processes
associated with Meiji reforms of the middle nineteenth century to the post-
World War II constructions of the state and schools (Shibata, 2005).
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The Double Gestures of Cosmopolitanism and Comparative 383
6. While the impulse of cosmopolitanism is inclusionary, its system of reason entails
double gestures that excluded. Cosmopolitanism entails comparative methods that
differentiate and divide the qualities and characteristics of those who are enlight-
ened and civilized from those who threaten the consensus and stability – the
“uncivilized” person who was called “backward,” “savage,” and the “barbarian” in
the nineteenth century and today’s at-risk and delinquent child.
The comparative method inscribed in cosmopolitan reason was a particular historical
practice that had different trajectories. The analytical qualities of modern science and
medicine are made possible through the comparison of “things” and parts as it relates to
some unity of the whole. Comparative installations also entered into social and cultural
practices through classiﬁ cations and differentiations formed a continuum of value and
hierarchy that placed “man” in a continuum of people and civilizations that was “seen”
as moving from advanced to less advanced and uncivilized. Modern historicism as nar-
ratives that linked past/present/future appeared, for example, in the nineteenth century.
It provided ways to talk about nations as tracing their histories through progressive
developments of “civilizations” that started in Ancient Greece or Rome and arrived at
the present; and at the same time, ways of justifying colonialization.
The rationality and reason of cosmopolitanism visualized the civilized and their
hospitality to others through the recognition that demarcated difference. The com-
parative quality functions to differentiate and divide those capable of cosmopolitan
“reason” and thus given as the civilized people from those not in other cultural spaces
– the individual whose qualities of life are given classiﬁ cations as “not as advanced.”
The differentiations and divisions are embedded in modern philosophy, the human
sciences, and schooling (Rancière, 1983/2004). Theories of the human sciences made
the arbitrariness of differences into necessity and inevitability. The recognition of dif-
ference stabilizes groups as outside normalcy and “incapable of ever acquiring a taste
for the philosophers’ goods—and even of understanding the language in which their
enjoyment is expounded” (Ranciére, 1983: 204).
Cosmopolitanism, then, provides a historical strategy to consider reason as simul-
taneously systems of inclusion and exclusion provided intellectual “tools” to compare
schooling historically and across different social-political spaces. The universal and
inclusive practices of school reforms that speak about “all children” as a gesture to
unify the whole of humanity are, I will argue, processes of abjection in which the
divisions are produced that cast some qualities and people as outside of the spaces of
Today’s reforms that speak about an inclusive society produce unlivable
spaces that are occupied by the disadvantaged, the urban child and family, the poor,
and the immigrant, and, as I will argue from the US context, the child “left behind.”
Cosmopolitan “Reason(s)” and Globalization at the Turn
of the Twentieth Century: Dewey as Conceptual Personae
In this section I explore cosmopolitanism historically as an intellectual “tool” in which
to consider the cultural theses generated through pedagogy, and its systems of abjection.
I focus on the traveling of John Dewey’s pragmatism as is a cultural thesis about enacting
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the cosmopolitan life that is not merely that of Dewey.
Dewey functions as a conceptual
personae (Deleuze & Guattari, 1991/1994), enunciating particular solutions and plans
for action within a grid of social and cultural practices that give the “ideas” intelligi-
bility. As Dewey was the international salesman for American pragmatism at a time
when mass schooling was institutionalized in diverse cultural and political ﬁ elds, the
encounters with and rejections of pragmatism provide an initial comparative strategy to
consider the principles interning and enclosing who the child is and should be.
Pragmatism and the Planning of the Cosmopolitan Self
Dewey’s pragmatism embodied a cosmopolitan that presupposed the individual as a
purposeful agent of change in a world ﬁ lled with contingency. That agency brought
notions of science into a process to order life as a continual and changing set of prob-
lem solving. The science that Dewey spoke about was not about what physicist or
biologists did. It was a cultural thesis that brought Enlightenment notions of the tran-
scendental power of reason and progress as a habit of reﬂ ection and action. Dewey
said that since “the future of our civilization depends upon the widening spread and
deepening hold of the scientiﬁ c habit of mind, the problem of problems in our educa-
tion is therefore to discover how to mature and make effective this scientiﬁ c habit”
(cited in Diggins, 1994: 227).
The “habit of mind” embodied a particular reform Protestantism of northern Europe
and North America at the beginning of the twentieth century. Dewey saw no difference
between a universalized notion of Christian values about the good works of the indi-
vidual and the democracy of the nation. It was a twofold response that responded to the
moral and physical disorders to the city brought by industrialization and immigration.
Dewey and his contemporaries were also concerned with reinscribing Christian values
in society thought lost in the unbridled capitalism of the Robber Barons of Carnegie,
Mellon, and Rockefeller, among others. These values were about the individual’s social
obligations in performing “good works” linked to the general welfare of society.
Dewey’s pragmatism entered into an international ﬁ eld in reforms related to changes
in politics, society, and individuality (Popkewitz, 2005). The travels of Dewey’s notions
of agency, “intelligent action,” problem-solving and community in the writings of Dewey
functioned in traveling libraries as amalgamations of different sets of ideas in which cul-
tural theses were produced about modes of living. The ideas and concepts of Dewey, for
example, are assembled with the Swiss pedagogue Claparède and the Belgian Decroly in
South America as national reformers sought to bring into being “the New Education,” a
name given to a variety of efforts to reform the school through scientiﬁ c principles.
While Claparède, Decroly, and Dewey traveled together in many places, there were
different amalgamations of the texts in constructing cultural theses of who the child
is and should be. Decroly translated Dewey in a Belgian missionary, evangelistic, and
propagandistic pedagogical discourse (DeCoster et al., 2005). Pedagogy was to keep
Christian doctrine as a safeguard of the order of progress through ordering children’s
lives. Dewey was assembled in Columbia through Decroly and “local” authors, in con-
trast, as a reactionary and conservative pedagogy.
Dewey and Decroly were placed in
the company of the German Kerschensteiner and the Swiss Claparède as the philoso-
pher of a social redemption that Yugoslavian pedagogic work would produce to center
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The Double Gestures of Cosmopolitanism and Comparative 385
on the child’s activity. Dewey joined Georg Kerschensteiner and Adolfo Lima in the
Portuguese reception, structuring, and relaunching of the so-called New Education.
The different libraries were not variations of a single theme in generating cosmopoli-
tan theses about the child as the future citizen of the nation. The Mexican Revolution
discussions of schooling in the early twentieth century joined Dewey’s pragmatism in
an amalgamation that joined Catholic religious emblems and traditions with notions
drawn from the Enlightenment, rationalism, pragmatism, democracy, socialism, and
republicanism (Buenﬁ l Burgos, 2005). The Chinese May Fourth Movement, in contrast,
sought to replace the existing hierarchy of the Confucius traditions, with Dewey’s philo-
sophical and pedagogical notions as central to introducing vernacular language, liter-
ary changes that valued the individual author, and child-centered education to sanctify
individual rights through one’s location in a group (Qi, 2005). The new pedagogy did
not do away with social and political hierarchy; but was placed in a new organization of
hierarchy and notion of collective belonging about what it meant to be “Chinese”.
The traveling of pragmatism entailed, as well, counter theses to Dewey’s cosmo-
politan theses. German pedagogues, working within Lutheran traditions and its own
vision of its people as the embodiment of culture and humanity, placed Dewey and
pragmatism as devoid of spirituality and violating the geist of the nation. Brazilian
Catholic Counter-Enlightenment Reformers fought against Dewey’s pragmatism as an
“urban” secularism devoid of the universality and spirituality embodied in Catholicism
My exploration of Dewey as a conceptual personae assembled, connected, and dis-
connected in traveling libraries is to recognize that the modern school of the long
nineteenth century embodied different cultural theses. Further, that individuality is
projected in terms of a universal humanity but has particular links of individuality and
sociality in creating belonging and “homes.” Dewey as a conceptual personae in effect
meets other conceptual personae (the Belgium Decroly, the German Kerschensteiner,
the Swiss Claparède, the Turkish Yücel, the Brazilian Teixeira, and the Chinese Hu
Shih, among others. The changes in the social and cultural practices were global but
with these different cosmopolitan images and narratives of the child and society to
govern the principles of reason and rationality in ordering life.
Double Gestures of Hope and Fear: Processes of Abjection
The growing optimism about the “eternal promise” of childhood in pragmatism and
more generally in the pedagogical reform movements were not only about the child
as the future citizen in promised lands. The positive hope of planning was a process
of abjection. Salvation narratives in “intelligent action,” problem-solving, and com-
munity gave recognition to those who had not secured the beneﬁ ts of the good life,
recognized for inclusion yet different.
Those recognized for inclusion and abjected as different were embodied in cross-
Atlantic Protestant reform movements about the Social Question. The Social Question
directed attention to the perceived moral disorder of immigrants, the working class,
and racialized groups in cities. Protestant reform politics circulated among the English
Fabian Society, German Evangelical Social Congress, the French Musée Social, U.S.
progressive politics, and the transatlantic Protestant’s Settlement House movements to
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change the conditions of the city and to change the new urban populations (Rodgers,
1998). This entailed, for example, the growing consciousness of the limits of market
capitalism and urban planning that would confront the debilitating effects of indus-
trialization. Alcoholism, delinquency, prostitution, poverty, and family disintegration
were perceived as threats to cosmopolitan aspirations of the different societies. The
cosmopolitan urbane gave focus to the urban!
The new sciences of society and education were part of the response to the Social
Question. It embodied the hope of a cosmopolitan future and fears of those who did
not participate and act as agents of change. The social sciences were to identify and
ﬁ nd solutions to the urban contexts thought of producing. The notions of community
and primary group were concepts to overcome the debilitating effects of modernity in
the city, for example, in US urban sociology. The theories and studies draw on German
social theories about the alienation and abstract qualities of daily life in the city that
erased prior pastoral relations of trust and community built through face-to-face rela-
tions. The notion of community was urbanized to “ﬁ t” the social patterns through
which belonging, attachment, and grounding in an ethics of daily life could be articu-
lated in city life. Dewey’s “habits of the mind” and George Herbert Mead’s notion of
the self arising out of socially symbolic gestures and interactions, for example, embod-
ied this rethinking of community in the context of the social as a method to counteract
the debilitating effects of modern urban conditions.
I draw on this history of the social and education sciences as not merely national projects
but of a globalization about the planning of society and people through science. The nar-
ratives and images were of the cosmopolitanism; that is, an individuality guided by reason
and science in effecting human agency and social progress that was given a universalism in
its purposes even if those purposes were historically speciﬁ c. The sciences moved school-
ing as a civilizing project in the name of the cosmopolitan society, although that society and
individuality had differences when examined cross-nationally and culturally.
The Social Question embodied a comparative set of distinctions that I spoke about
earlier. The distinctions and divisions were inscribed through the theories and studies
that recognized the need to include. The comparative “thought” entailed populational
reasoning that ordered groups through probabilistic theories that placed individual
characteristics into categories which classiﬁ ed the modes of living of individuals
(Hacking, 1990). Populational reasoning, for example, produced particular aggre-
gates of characteristics of people as a unity of the whole that could be targeted inter-
ventions. The comparative distinctions also made possible modern theories of race
and class. Eugenics, for example, constructed difference and division on physical or
psychological distinctions among populations and races.
Cosmopolitanism and Abjection at the Turn of the Twenty-ﬁ rst
Century: Cultural Theses of the Lifelong Learner and its Others!
If we move to the turn of the twenty-ﬁ rst century, the cosmopolitanism and processes of
abjection entail different assemblies and connections. Today’s cosmopolitanism is talked
about through the lifelong learner and the Learning Society. John Dewey is still with us
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The Double Gestures of Cosmopolitanism and Comparative 387
in this cosmopolitanism but travels in a different global traveling library of psychological
constructivism that includes the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (Popkewitz,
1998a). This joining of the two in pedagogy is historically ironic. Dewey wrote to
bring Protestant reformist ethics into social policy of the liberal Republic; Vygotsky
was Jewish but sought a psychology that articulated the moral commitments of the
new Soviet regime. Both are dead now. Their “history” emptied, to borrow from Walter
Benjamin (1955/1985). The two “authors” function as universal heroes in the “new”
reform pedagogies in contemporary South Africa, Spain, the Scandinavian countries,
and the United States, among others.
A globalization of the individual who is a lifelong learner is impressive. Google
search (which of course was not possible at the beginning of the twentieth century)
brought up 1,090,000 pages under “lifelong learner.” The phrase crosses broad social
and political arenas and geographical locations (Fejes & Nicoll, 2007; Popkewitz &
Lindblad, 2004; Lawn, 2001; Álvarez-Mendiola, 2006). European, American, and
Taiwanese school and teacher education reforms, US Christian religious schools, the
rights of patients in medicine, among many others, evoke the term lifelong learner as
the embodiment of who a person is and should be. The American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma & Immunology Lifelong Learner (AAAAI) Bill of Rights, for example,
declares the patient “a life-long learner who has chosen to engage in continuing …
education to identify or ﬁ ll a gap in knowledge, skill or performance (Academy News,
July 2005, http://www.aaaai.org). Since the mid-1980s, the making of European Union
identify is in the cosmopolitanism of the citizen who is the lifelong learner. A draft
for European teacher education, for example, asserts that teachers’ responsibilities for
the future hinge of the development of the child who is the lifelong learner (European
My interest in the lifelong learner is not to celebrate it as the contemporary salva-
tion story of the twenty-ﬁ rst century. It is to think about the comparative study of
schooling through exploring its cultural thesis of cosmopolitanism and the compara-
tive instantiation of who does not “ﬁ t” its notions of reason and the “reasonable” per-
son. Further, while there are distinctions between the cultural thesis of the lifelong
learner in Taiwan, Mexico, and northern Europe and North America, my analysis will
primarily draw from US and European literatures as exemplars of the problematic of
study in which to engage in comparative studies.
What is the Cultural Thesis of the Unﬁ nished Cosmopolitan?
The revelation process of the lifelong learner is living as the problem-solver.
Today’s problem-solving of the lifelong learner, for example, evokes Dewey but
with a different assembly of ideas, authority relations, and institutions. A Finnish
“Life as Learning Research Project” asserts that the lifelong learner is a com-
plex, variable, less structured individual that is ﬂ exible and adaptive to multiple
demands (www.aka.ﬁ ).
The problem-solving is a calculus of intervention and displacement of the ethical
obligation for the child. The rules and standards of problem-solving administer the per-
sonal development, self-reﬂ ection, and the inner self-guided moral growth of the child.
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The administration is therapeutic, to fabricate a better-managed, healthier, and happier
The salvation themes of the lifelong learner are realized through collaboration and
participation. The governing of action is through communication systems and net-
works (discourse communities) of the reformed curriculum. Agency is spoken of in
psychological notions of problem-solving and the political evocation of voice and
empowerment through community participation and collaboration.
Teachers are now partners and collaborators governed through communication sys-
tems and networks (discourse communities) in the construction of personal knowl-
edge. The teacher is a decision-maker who is “empowered” and given “voice” through
partnerships with communities and parents. The teacher assesses the processes of
learning and problem-solving to calculate and supervise the making and remaking of
“self ” and the child’s biographies. The teacher observes the child’s problem-solving
processes from a constructivist standpoint in which there are multiple paths to attain
answers. The process and choices are what is important to teaching. The teacher is also
an action researcher who reworks herself and the child through a continual construc-
tion of life histories or portfolios.
Belonging is no longer directed toward a single public sphere but in diverse com-
munities and individuality that constitute the common good. Emotional bonds and
self-responsibility are circumscribed through networks of other individuals–the family
and the community. One works actively in “communities of learning” or “discourse
communities” as life is a continuous course of personal responsibility and self-
management of one’s risks and destiny.
The narratives of community express universal values about creating the condi-
tions for all individuals to achieve social or economic progress and for the revitaliza-
tion of democracy. There is less talk about general social values that children are to
ascribe to and more about children constructing knowledge and teachers as partners
The lifelong learner can be thought of as an unﬁ nished cosmopolitan. It is an indi-
viduality continually responsible for making choices and innovation as an unending
process of life. The future and progress are about making choices and the only thing
that is not a choice is choice itself. In educational, health, and crime prevention educa-
tion in the US and Sweden, for example, the story told is that the individual is obliged
to live with constant changes in society (Popkewitz et al., 2005). Modern schooling, for
example, continually links the individual to narratives of social or economic progress
and the revitalization of democracy that will bring personal betterment. That individu-
ality is talked about as a lifelong learner who plans one’s biography as continuously
solving problems, making choices, and collaborating in “communities of learners.”
The nation does not disappear but is scaled in different ways. Lifelong Learning
performs as a particular project to the construction of transnational government and
integration with the European Union (Lawn, 2003: 330). The problem-solving life
is a governing discourse that travels across national boundaries to recast the educa-
tional space into an imagined European community in which knowledge is a key to
industrial competitiveness and employment. The image of Europe is of a transnational
normativity about cosmopolitan homogeneity. Unlike national identity categories,
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The Double Gestures of Cosmopolitanism and Comparative 389
its legitimacy appears as not rooted in histories or ancient cultures and territories.
The Europe of the lifelong learner is future-oriented whose terms are of universalistic
principles about abstract values of human rights, democracy, progress, and equality as
What is ignored are the conﬂ icts and divisions through which consensus and peace
are celebrated and scaled. The unﬁ nished cosmopolitanism of the lifelong learner is
placed in a hierarchy in which the universal moral good of the nation is embodied
in the European Union. Soysal, for example, found a degree of afﬁ nity in goals and
agencies by actors in different national institutional contexts across the European
Union. The emphasis was on a Europe constituted by dialogue, conﬂ ict resolution,
tolerance, human rights, and intercultural understanding. This is a Europe taken for
granted and its project’s furtherance was not questioned (Soysal, 2002: 272). Except
for the German textbooks that focused on a cosmopolitan universalism that did not
mention the nation, the central structures of textbooks linked individual and collective
identity with cultural homogeneity that legitimizes the nation-state (Pereyra & Luzón,
2005: 179). Europe is more at its core than in its margins, as in the cases of Turkey
and Greece, as the content of education still prioritizes the nation and its chronology
(Soysal, 2002: 278).
Social belonging and attachments, however, are not lost. The school and class-
rooms as communities of learning are sites for recalibrating the political aspirations
of the individual with the new assemblies of communities as the social. The “barriers”
breached across groups in narrations of collaboration join individual agency with the
general development of society.
Further, the unﬁ nished cosmopolitanism embodies a fatalism. That fatalism is in
its individualizing that speaks of continuous choice, innovation, and ﬂ exibility in the
face of globalization. Globalization is placed as something that is omnipresent and
the given to which the individual needs to develop responsible responses in order to
create a better place for the self and ensure “its” progress. This fatalism is continually
expressed in policy and research which talk about schools needing to respond to make
the Learning Society necessitated by the information society and globalization that
have no authors but stand as something that structures who we are and should be.
Comparative Reasoning about Reason: Casting Out
Who is not the Unﬁ nished Cosmopolitan
If cosmopolitanism provides a way to think about the hope of the future, its cultural
thesis generates principles that order the qualities and characteristics of people who
threaten that future. The hope and fears of the child are expressed through reforms and
research that are to achieve an egalitarian society where all children learn, all children
have high achievement, and so on. The all expresses the broad political commitment
about the unity of society and schools as a positive social institution that serves all
segments of society equally. The reforms equally serving all children are not about
the unity of the whole. The hope that “all children learn”, ironically, recognizes and
divides the unﬁ nished cosmopolitanism and its “Others.”
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The efforts for rescue in school reforms bring to bear the double sense of recognition and
difference – the fear of not being able to achieve the hope of schooling in making a more
equitable society and the fear of the dangers and dangerous populations for the future.
The fears have dimensions inside and outside of parameters of inclusion. Contemporary
schooling in the industrialized nations, for example, produces “worries” about providing
adequate learning for the child who is academically and socially “at-risk.”
The fear of not succeeding with particular children is not only recognition of rescue
of those fallen behind. The recognition of particular populations establishes difference.
The differences are of the qualities and characteristics of dangers and of the dangerous
populations – the at-risk child, dysfunctional families, divorced and single parents, juve-
nile delinquency, drug abuse, and sexual promiscuity, among others. In some countries,
the fears are expressed in the discourses about immigrant children, the poor and “needy”
who are not doing adequately in schools and whose values and behaviors demand school
programs of remediation. The fears are given often through psychological words of dif-
ference about lacking self-esteem, the moral disintegration of the family, and inadequate
child development that requires rescue, remediation, and counseling. (For a more general
discussion of this “property” of modern thought in relation to a European Union study of
educational governance and social exclusion, see Popkewitz & Lindblad, 2000.)
The fears appear in the new statistical capacity of European Statistic System (ESS)
to produce an inclusive society. The special task force began in 2001 with representa-
tives of ﬁ ve countries (Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, and UK), European
agencies, and two Denmark and Swiss experts (Lawn, 2003: 334). The task force was
to identify numerical information and indicators from within European programs
about the lifelong learner and the child in need of remediation.
The indicators of success established determinate categories about kinds people: the
“needy,” or the “at-risk” or “disadvantage youth” in schooling (Popkewitz & Lindblad,
2000). In the European context, the child who is not the unﬁ nished cosmopolitan
appears in statistical reports as the addicted youth, the teenage mother, and the child
of a single parent (mother). These characteristics are placed in relation to ethnicity,
race, and other categories of the individual whose difference makes it not possible to
ever be of “the average.” The categories have a redemptive quality to social policy,
but they also produce divisions and principles that differentiate the “reasonable indi-
vidual” from those who differentiated as different. The divisions function to qualify
and disqualify individuals for action and participation.
A similar process of inclusion and exclusion are embodied in teacher education
reforms. The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (2003), No
Dream Denied: A Pledge to America’s Children, for example, signiﬁ es the unity of
the nation through cosmopolitan values about the inalienable “educational birthright”
of all children that has an equal place with the constitutional rights of the citizen. The
birthright is bound to being a lifelong learning in “a culture of continuous learning”
in which the competent teachers will emancipate and liberate the universal qualities of
human reason and rationality of the child.
The securing of the child’s “birthright” is a double gesture that embodies fears
of those who do not its “reason” and actions as “reasonable people.” The school
where “all children learn” is a comparative injunctive of fear. It is the fear that not
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The Double Gestures of Cosmopolitanism and Comparative 391
engaging in the reforms that include will not enable the realization of the dream
of the nation. The inclusion of diverse learners is to enable them “to acquire the
knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will allow them to succeed” (Hammerness
et al., 2005: 390).
A report on the middle school instruction, as well entails double gestures, qualify
and disqualify individuals for participation that takes into account developmentally
appropriate psychology in planning teaching that reﬂ ects the physical, psychosocial,
and cognitive development of young adolescents, inscribes the threats to the moral
order of young adolescence who experience increased peer pressure to experiment
with tobacco, increased sexual activity and sexually transmitted diseases, teenage
pregnancy, alcohol, illegal drugs, and criminality (Manning, 2002: 50–51).
While no longer evoking the earlier Social Question of the city, the question of
moral disorders still occupies reforms. The Social Question is transmogriﬁ ed into the
optimism of rescuing and rectifying failures by turning to reforms that recognize and
differentiate “targeted populations.” The populations are not placed in the space of all
children, but to be included yet cast out as dangerous.
Working Toward Comparative Studies of Schooling
as a Historical Problem of the Present
Cosmopolitanism is used as an “intellectual tool” to think historically and compara-
tively about schooling as sites that connect individuality with collective belonging and
“homes”. I spoke about cosmopolitanism as cultural theses to consider the principles
generated about modes of life in pedagogical policy, reform, research, and pedagogy. I
considered, for example, how the categories about the child as a problem-solver, acting
in communities, and collaborating are not merely concepts to express policy intentions
or altruistic goals of schooling in relation to child empowerment or self-realization.
Such concepts are assembled historically and, shaped and fashioned as governing prac-
tices in ordering conduct. Further these governing practices of reﬂ ection and action link
to principles of collective belonging about the future citizen of the nation that is scaled
today in different ways than previously. The relation of the individual qua citizen of the
nation and European “identity” in the European Union is one such example of scaling.
I used the plural, cultural theses, for two overlapping considerations.
First, the plurality is related to cosmopolitanism and processes of abjection. The
principles generated about the cosmopolitanism of the child entailed the production
of “others,” the child who does not have the qualities and characteristics of “reason
to qualify as a ‘reasonable person.’ Those who do not enjoy the status of the subject,
but whose lives are circumscribed by the cosmopolitan modes of living are part of
the same phenomenon of schooling and not, as in the equity problematic, distinct and
separate qualities. The phrase all children embodied a comparative instantiation of the
unity of the whole from which to establish difference. The subsequent and continual
reiteration in policy statements about school reforms about ‘all children will learn’ and
that programs ‘accommodate all students’ create a space of mystical participation in a
Cowen-Ch25.indd 391Cowen-Ch25.indd 391 5/30/2008 8:55:08 AM5/30/2008 8:55:08 AM
common good that, in fact, differentiates and divides. My argument, then, is that the
production of the cosmopolitan child in school reform evokes and enforces its Others”
in its principles of inclusion.
Second, the individuality embodied in cosmopolitanism is not merely variations of a
single cultural thesis but produced in different assembles, connections, and disconnec-
tions. My focus on the cultural thesis of the unﬁ nished cosmopolitanism and processes
of abjection, for example, drew primarily on historicizing the principles generated and
mutating from northern Protestant European and North American enlightenments. This
strategy is to provide historical speciﬁ city; yet at different points I pointed to different and
diverse cultural theses in Dewey’s “traveling” as a conceptual personae. Cosmopolitanism,
then, is a historical rather than normative method to explore the generation of principles
about modes of life in a broader historical ﬁ eld of comparative studies.
Cosmopolitanism as generating cultural theses is to consider the politics of school-
ing. That politics lies not in the conventional notions about the allocation of values
that dominate political science literatures and school questions about who rules, whose
knowledge, and who is ruled. The politics that I speak about is the prior system of
reason that classiﬁ es, distinguishes, and differentiates the qualities and characteristics
of the child who is qualiﬁ ed and disqualiﬁ ed for participation. The universalism given
in the cultural theses about the cosmopolitanism of the child provide a seeming tran-
scendent set of values that shreds the provincial and the past. That transcendence is
for an inclusive society spoken about in contemporary European and North American
policy and research as schooling for “all children.” The “all” is to signify the enlight-
ened unity that transcends human differences. The gesture about the “all” of humanity,
however, is not universal and particular. It embodied exclusions: processes of abjection
that cast some qualities of people as outside of the spaces of “reason” and inclusion.
And it embodied a distrust of democracy itself as participation and collaboration were
ordered through shepherds.
Cosmopolitanism, then, is a strategy to historicize the present and explore the cultural
theses about modes of life formed and the changing patterns of power embodied in the
modern school. The problem is not whether people have good intentions or not, or are
reasoning properly. I assume that people have good intentions but different paths to bring
happiness and to recognize and to correct those classiﬁ ed as not being able to participate,
are marginalized, or excluded. Yet the practices of inclusion are processes of abjection
that cannot be considered as Kantian categorical imperatives of reason. The processes
of inclusion and abjection are embodied in the very systems of reason through which
intention and purpose circulate in the complexity of what is both inside and outside, both
rescued and cast out as threats to cosmopolitanism, and thus as the unlivable spaces.
I want to focus some issues that emerge in these considerations for the study of
First, today’s governing is not one of weaker or stronger than the state compared to
the state operating in the “future of yesterday.” The state is not withering away. There
are different cultural and historical spaces where new conﬁ gurations in governing the
self are formed.
Second, the discussion of cultural theses places certain strains on the residual cate-
gories of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theories. Those theories differentiate
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The Double Gestures of Cosmopolitanism and Comparative 393
the social and the individual; private and public. The discussion of cosmopolitanism
points, I believe, to the historical poverty of these distinctions in questions of school-
ing and pedagogy.
Third, the focus on cultural theses was to recognize the overlapping of cultural,
social, political, and economic distinctions in schooling. While it is fashionable to
speak of schooling as a reduction to economic categories, reading of school reforms
entails no such thing. There is no evidence that there is any relation between schooling
and the competences of work except in the general qualities of one’s habitus (Meyer
& Jepperson, 2000). While it is fashionable to talk about the economic as structuring
educational policy and theories of the child, economic theories of work are often psy-
chological theories of the moral and habitus of the worker today; industrial theories
are cultural theories of modes of living that relate individuality to leisure as well as
work productivity. There is evidence that pedagogical theories are also transported into
business theories and practices that instrumentalize work.
Finally, there is a paradox to this argument. The focus on cultural theses about cos-
mopolitanism in schooling is a comparative historical “tool” to diagnose the system of
reason through which principles are generated that differentiate and divide who the child
is and who is not that child (Popkewitz, 1991, 2008). The paradox is that to examine the
comparative system of reason embodied in schooling while arguing for a method of com-
parative studies. In one sense, this chapter lives with the blackmail of the Enlightenment’s
commitments even its arguing against its modern dogma (see Foucault, 1984).
1. I use the long nineteenth century to consider uneven historical movements from the late 1700s through
the turn of the twentieth century that come together in the making of the modern school and its
2. The notion of citizen is considered historically as the “responsible” individual who is the agent of change in
the political community of the nation. Few nations today have government that is based, at least ofﬁ cially,
on its population responsible for electing its representative. This notion of participation is related but not
necessarily bounded by the ideal types of Republican government and its notions of civil virtue in compari-
son to that of the notion of subject of the nation. While Sweden and Australia, for example, are not formerly
republican forms of government, ideas of civic virtue and democracy do prevail and in this sense, it is
appropriate to use the notion of citizen. This historical use of citizen is linked to the function of schooling
in the making of child who participates in and feels “belonging” to the nation.
3. This term emerged in work that I did with Jamie Kowalcyck (see, e.g., Kowalczyk & Popkewitz, 2005)
and related to Kristeve (1982) although our use was without the psychoanalytic traditions that Kristeve
4. The production of differences as it relates to urban education is discussed in Popkewitz, 1998b.
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[Au1]: List 4 not indicated. Please check.
[Au2]: Please provide footnote
[Au3]: Please conﬁ rm change from ‘hierarch’ to ‘hierarchy’.
[Au4]: Please conﬁ rm changes to sentence.
[Au5]: Please provide citation for Bourdieu, 1994.
[Au6]: Please provide citation for Kristeva, 1982.
[Au7]: Please provide citation for National Commission on Teaching & America’s
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