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Bildung of emotions and Bildung through emotions: the orientative, evaluative and Bildungs-effect of shame



Emotions serve the function of a life-world orientation as well as a function for social and moral judgment and evaluation. Finally, they also have a function of Bildung. Emotions in their anticipatory structure can be the beginning of possible experiences of Bildung and education. Building on the example of the feeling of shame (Schamgefühl), I would like to show that emotions can be seen as a starting point for a reflexive process of Bildung: a starting point in which the relation of self and world is put into resonance in a special way, so that a transformation or a process of re-learning becomes possible.
Malte Brinkmann (Berlin)
Bildung of emotions and Bildung through emotions: the orientative, evaluative and
Bildungs-effect of shame
Presentation at Winterschool „Emotions and Care“ at the University of Verona on February
5th 2019
In the following, I would like to highlight some aspects of the connection between emotions
(Gefühle) and Bildung (formation), by using the example of shame. I will try to show that
emotions have their own reason or rationality. The antagonism between reason and emotion,
as constructed by our European tradition, is problematic. On the contrary, emotions serve the
function of a life-world orientation as well as a function for social and moral judgment and
evaluation. Finally, they also have a function of Bildung as I will show. The reason of emotions
makes a Bildung through emotion possible, because educational experiences are always
emotionally structured. Emotions in their anticipatory structure can be the beginning of
possible experiences of Bildung and education. The willful reason of emotion however, also
enables the Bildung of emotions to the extent that emotions have a special status within the
learning experience. Building on the example of the feeling of shame (Schamgefühl), I would
like to show that emotions can be seen as a starting point for a reflexive process of Bildung: a
starting point in which the relation of self and world is put into mood (Stimmung) and
resonance in a special way, so that a transformation or a process of re-learning becomes
possible. In the experience of learning, the reason of the feeling of shame (Schamgefühl) is
combined to a reversal of the person, to an experience of Bildung (forming). In this "forming"
interplay of feeling and reason, corporeality, sociality and strangeness are important
dimensions of experience.
1. So I would like to present two theses: Emotions serve the function of a life-world
orientation as well as a function for social and moral judgment and evaluation. Finally,
they also have a function of Bildung.
2. Emotions can be seen as a starting point for a reflexive process of Bildung: relation of
the self and world is put into resonance in a special way, so that a transformation or a
process of re-learning, a reversal of the person, becomes possible.
But first some remarks to the terms and their translations: Bildung is the German word that
means more than formation: Bildung means an interplay between man and the world in
which an experience takes place that changes man as a whole (Humboldt 1969): a
transformation or a reversal (periagoge). It is a subjective and eventful lived experience in
learning which is based on negativity as I will show (bildende Erfahrung).This lived
experience in Bildung (bildende Erfahrung) is connected to Wissen und Können, which I
translate with G. Ryle and M. Polanyi as knowing that (Wissen) and knowing how (Können).
I systematically distinguish "Bildung" from education. Education is a social practice
which takes place in institutions like family or school.
I translate the German word "Gefühl" as emotion. I will define this term more precisely
Shame is an emotion. I translate the "Schamgefühl" as an actual and momentary, lived
experience of shame as feeling of shame.
I differentiate experience (Erfahrung) from Erlebnis (lived experience). The German
word Erlebnis is an eventful and immediate emotion. I translate it as lived experience.
Experience in contrast to Erlebnis is repeated and sedimented.
I translate the German word Stimmung (Angst bei Heidegger) as mood. This is a special
way of emotion and lived experiencing of emotions. Later I will distinguish
atmospheres from that again.
Before I begin with an example, I would like to briefly discuss the history of feelings in
philosophy, the humanities and pedagogy:
1. The Return of emotions?
In processes and practices of learning, education, teaching, Bildung and socialization,
emotions are omnipresent. Across all professions and disciplines, curiosity, enthusiasm,
surprise or anger, desperation, wrath, disappointment, fear, envy, shame, jealousy or outrage
as well as love, compassion and thankfulness are central moments of experiences of learning
and Bildung. Emotions give a structure to our engagement and relation with the self, with
others and the world. Since the late 1990s, the ‘forgotten connections’ between emotions and
education are being rediscovered in the course of the so-called emotional turn in philosophy
(Nussbaum 2001, Demmerling und Landweer 2007), in the neuro-sciences (Damasio 2007), in
history (Plamper 2012), in sociology (Senge und Schützeichel 2013), in anthropology (Frevert
und Wulff 2014) as well as in pedagogy (Reichenbach und Maxwell 2007, Schäfer
undThompson 2009, Seichter 2007, Huber und Krause 2018).
For a long time, pedagogy has overlooked the important and productive relevance of
emotions, their specific meaning for the individual or the "raison du coeur" (Pascal). They were
and still are regarded as adversaries to reason and rationality. As a result of this logocentric
dualism, they were mostly ignored. They also were and still are regarded as a disturbance of
rationality- and competence-centered processes of Bildung and education Emotions are
placed in the service of a supposedly higher reason, rationality or judgement and thus are
being disciplined and subordinated.
Phenomenology has reversed this European logocentrism by describing and researching
emotions. Based on Husserl's concept of intentionality (the fundamental relation of humans
in acts to the world and the associated definition of experience as experience of and as
something), Scheler and Heidegger claim the priority of emotions over thought and will. In
"Being and Time", Heidegger emphasized the Stimmung of Angst (mood or feeling) or fear as
a basic state of being (Heidegger 2006). In contrast to Heidegger, Max Scheler gave priority to
love and emotions of sympathy (Scheler 1986a, 2013). From a phenomenological perspective,
emotions bear an outstanding priority and significance for relations between the self, the
world and others. In phenomenological educational studies, the significance of emotions for
Bildung is emphasized (cf. Stenger 2013).
2. Feeling ashamed of her- or himself in front of others about something - the three-figure
structure of emotions
To illustrate these thoughts, I would like to present an example which deals with the feeling
of shame (Schamgefühl)
The example originates from our research in the context of pedagogical-phenomenological
videography, in which we particularly study the phenomenon of attention in teaching and
learning. We are in a 9th grade chemistry class. The girl in the back row on the right is called
upon by the teacher to present to the class the results of an experiment.
(for data protection reasons the faces of the persons are made unrecognizable)
Within a few seconds, one clearly sees a bodily reaction or an answerto the teacher’s
request: widened eyes, her gaze is surprised and fixed; she smiles; her cheeks redden; her
gaze sinks downwards. The girl gets up and pulls her sweater down. Her body tension
increases and her body tone becomes rigid. The teacher encourages her to come forward to
the blackboard. There she presents the results of her experiment in front of the other mostly
male students. At the teacher's request, she explains the chemical process (it is a matter of
determining bases or acids).
You are probably all familiar with situations like these from your own experience at school.
You will probably say: The girl is ashamed. She is ashamed to have to give the answer in front
of others, to have to stand up, to have to present herself by the blackboard in front of
everyone and maybe demonstrate her lack of knowing that and knowing how.
Shame and - as I will show - all emotions are characterized by a three-figure structure. Firstly,
they express themselves in an embodied way. They are perceptible. This process cannot be
controlled - neither by will nor by rationality. The feeling of shame (Schamgefühl) is
overwhelming. It resembles an unexpected and pathic event. One avoids the gaze of others,
wants to hide, sink into the ground. In the feeling of shame, a self-relation appears. Secondly,
in the feeling of shame an elementary sociality becomes manifest. The self-relation I
mentioned is experienced in front of others and through others. It is a feeling of oneself
(Selbstgefühl) that remains related to others. The embodied feeling of self arises from the
lived experience of having to show oneself as someone in front of others. This creates an
unpleasant, tense and finally crisis-like lived experience. The self-control, the social mask and
role of the student slip away and something very personal appears. Strangeness and
foreignness thus emerge in the lived self-experience and in the views of others. As I will show,
a space between the self and the foreign opens up.
The girl is ashamed of herself in front of others - about something. Even if the girl would think
to herself: "It's not so bad to not know the answer, it’s not that embarrassing having to walk
around in the classroom. This shouldn’t bother me, because I have a different position" - the
possible devaluations, i.e. the standard values of the other pupils and the teacher, are
experienced in the lived experience of shame as one's own. The girl turns red, blushes,
because she anticipates their judgement at the very moment she is confronted with the gazes
of the others. Therefore, the feeling of shame thirdly has an object, a correlate. It is directed
at something specific that is experienced at the very moment or that is at least being
The three-figure structure of emotions:
Embodiment: overwhelming, pathic: self-relation
Strangeness and foreigness: social relation front of others and through others
Intentionality: object, a correlate of emotions; the values of the others are experienced
as one's own.
3. Emotion, mood, atmosphere
In phenomenology, especially in the works of Scheler, but also in more recent theories of
emotions (Demmerling and Landweer 2007) and Schmitz (Schmitz 2007) more precise
conceptual distinctions are being made. With Landweer, I first want to distinguish a broader
concept of emotion, that contains all forms of affects, from a more narrow concept
(Demmerling and Landweer 2007). Emotions in a more narrow sense are firstly intentionally
directed at something. I am happy about a bouquet of flowers, I envy some one's success or I
am ashamed of something. Emotions are intentional and have a propositional content. They
are always a lived experience (Erlebnis). The above-mentioned character of overwhelming and
pathic shows this.
If we are overwhelmed by emotions, such as shame, we cannot express this feeling verbally
at the same moment. The "silent experience" (Husserl) of emotions can therefore only be
explicated and "signified" (Merleau-Ponty) in retrospect (cf. Brinkmann 2019). Only after this
experience, emotions can be explicated and thus become an experience, i.e. they can be
sedimented and habitualized (cf. Brinkmann 2011). In contrast to sedimented and
habitualized experiences, the lived experience is always an event.Lived experiences, on the
other hand, have a different time structure. They repeat themselves. Only when lived
experiences repeat themselves, they can become experiences. They then acquire a
dispositional character. They become part of the "body schema" (Merleau-Ponty). The
emotion or feeling of shame can become dispositional in its repetition like envy and other
feelings. Scheler shows this in his book on ressentiment (Scheler 2017).
The lived experience-character of emotions is an unmistakably personal experience. Emotions
can only be experienced in the first person perspective. I may be able to participate in the joy
or shame of another person, I can "empathize" with them, as Scheler says and be infected by
these feelings, so that the other person becomes present to me in sympathy However, lived
experiencing, an emotion of another never has a propositional content. Compassion or
sympathy for someone else's toothache, shame, or grief does not mean that I have a
toothache myself, or turn red or mourn the loss of a close person. Nevertheless, in compassion
or sympathy, joy or grief can be shared and pain can be felt without experiencing these
emotions directly.
Compassion or sympathy, like the lived experience of emotion itself, is not intended by the
ego, but emanates from the other. The primacy of emotion over thinking and will corresponds
with the primacy of the other in emotion. This first-person perspective implies a rejection of
the traditional European notion of the sovereignty and autonomy of the subject. The
emotional experience is rather based on a passivity, a lived experience and a state of mind
that marks the fundamental heteronomy of the subject. In this way, phenomenology can
decenter the notion of the autonomous subject without having to abandon subjectivity in the
first-person perspective, or without having to deconstruct it altogether.
In this context, another characteristic of emotions becomes clear. The experience of emotion
is to be distinguished from the sensual lived experience. When I feel ashamed or happy, I
experience more than just a sensory perception. All emotions are embodied but they
transcend sensual perception by being directed towards something and/or someone and
thereby receive their quality and intensity. Emotions are sensory lived experiences as a
correlate of an act. In joy, shame or envy, I experience myself in front of others by feeling joy
about something, by being ashamed of something or by envying someone.
In the lived experience (Erlebnis) of shame, I not only perceive my body in its sensual reactions.
I am also directed towards myself and at the same time towards others in a horizon of
meaning. I feel something and at the same time I relate to this feeling as a relation. The feeling,
especially the feeling of shame, has as a certain reflexivity, which I will describe later in more
detail. This becomes important for the determination of Bildung and Emotions.
Moods (Stimmung) and atmospheres can be distinguished from emotions. Moods such as
fear, worry, melancholy, euphoria, serenity, thoughtfulness, boredom or sadness, displeasure
or despair are in phenomenology regarded as basic states of being-in-the-world (Heidegger
2006, Bollnow 1995). In contrast to emotions and feelings, mood can be seen as an affect. It
has no correlate, no object. Mood is diffuse and of longer duration, not bound to a certain
situation or place (cf. Fuchs 2013). Moods generate an affective foundation against the
background of which emotions can stand out. The German word Stimmung comes from music.
Strings of a violin or a piano are gestimmt, tuned. They are then linked together in resonance
with others. A mood therefore needs a resonance and thus an answer to others or to the
Other. Mood (Stimmung) feels, grasps and evaluates without speech and without rational
judgement. Moods as well as emotions, create a fundamental responsivity to the world, to
oneself and to others on a pre-rational and pre-conceptual level. They open up the world to
us and at the same time close it off.
Thirdly, atmospheres can be distinguished from emotions and moods. Atmospheres are also
affects, but in a spatial and material context. Like moods, atmospheres are diffuse. In
atmospheres, space is not perceived as an objective, measurable space, but in a non-objective
way in the mode of being affectively touched. The non-objective impression of space, the
things and people in it constitute the atmosphere. G. Böhme describes it as an intermediate
phenomenon between man and space, between the self and the foreign (Böhme 2014), in
which the perceptible is transferred to the feeling of being together (Mit-sein). Atmospheres
therefore also are characterized by a state of being tuned like moods as I explained before.
They respond to colours, smells, things, constellations, people and architectures in space.
In summary:Emotions
are intentionally directed at something
have a propositional content
have an overwhelming, pathic and eventful character in the first person perspective,
in which a relation of self- and world articulates itself
are based on passivity and foreignness
respond to others and to the other (the foreign, the alien)
can only be verbalized and signified ex-post
can have a sedimenting and habitualizing effect when repeated
are related to other values and norms
must be systematically distinguished from perceptions, moods and atmospheres
4. Description and Epoché
A special challenge for the exploration of emotions and feelings is their ephemere and
ambiguous character as well as their overwhelming and pathic character. They are implicitly
structured and discursively determinable only in an ex-post manner. Moreover, feelings do
not appear "pure and undisguised". We experience (erleben) them in situations in which
several emotional dimensions are intertwined. The "pure" feeling of shame is rather
exceptional. Shame usually occurs together with other emotions such as shyness or
embarrassment. Phenomenology has developed a method of description to peel the
phenomena out of their life-worldly entanglement. On the one hand, this can be achieved
through precise, rich and concise descriptions of the qualities of meaning and lived
experiences as well as the different levels and intensities of emotions (cf. Lippitz 1984).
On the other hand, it can be achieved by a variation, in which the feeling of shame is
differentiated from other related feelings in varying ways and thus refined as a phenomenon.
In their studies on shame, Max Scheler and Hans Lipps vary the feeling of shame in comparison
with and in distinction from feelings like pride, humility, remorse, sense of honour,
prudishness, zeal, vanity, shyness, coquetry and frivolity (Lipps 1941, pp. 29-43). The diversity
of feelings in their specific meaning is thus preserved and the respective phenomenon is
exemplified (see Buck 2018). Descriptions are exemplary as they emphasize a generality that
does not derive its legitimacy from logical or experimental rules. Rather, they point to a
generality that can be made comprehensible and plausible in intersubjective experience. Thus,
examples do not subsume their object to an abstract rule. They see the general in the
individual. Examples demonstrate, visualize and orient. With the phenomenological Epoché,
which I understand here with Heidegger as a "delaying or pausing a movement of experience",
experiences of Bildung can also be generated in exemplary descriptions (cf. Brinkmann 2018c).
Later I will develop a more precise phenomenology of shame using the example school. I will
clarify the special meaning and function of emotions as a life-world orientation and as
dimensions of evaluation. Above all, I will also work out the function of Bildung of shame.
Before I come to this, I will briefly present some information on Phenomenological Research
in Education and on a theory of Bildung.
To summarize:
Feelings can be described exemplarily in their stubbornness and can be distinguished in the
variation from other feelings using the phenomenological description.
5. Phenomenological Research in Education
Lived body, sociality and foreignness, as they appear in the example that we saw earlier, are
important categories of Phenomenological Research in Education, as it has been practiced in
Germany for over 100 years (cf. Brinkmann 2016a, 2018b). I would like to briefly describe this
tradition and its current manifestation, from whose perspective I am speaking in more detail.
Since its beginnings, Phenomenological research in Education has systematically linked the
topics of Husserl and his successors Scheler, H. Lipps, Fink, Heidegger, Plessner, Bollnow,
Rombach, Schütz, Waldenfels, Meyer-Drawe, Lippitz (cf. Brinkmann 2016a) with a theory of
Bildung, learning and education (Erziehung). Topics such as corporeality, temporality,
foreignness and the attitudes of intentionality, passivity and responsivity play an important
role. Phenomenological research is based on a regional ontology (Husserl). It refers to the
question of principles, categories and models. It also refers to the question of the object of
our discipline and profession in comparison and in contrast to other disciplines and
professions. Phenomenological research in Education has systematically and empirically
redefined traditional pedagogical theories such as those by Humboldt, Schleiermacher,
Herbart, Hegel, Nietzsche and Progressive Pedagogy and Education. It combines the question
of the object with the question of the methodological approach. Phenomenological
description, variation and reduction are still being applied with the aim of working on a
pedagogical empiricism (Brinkmann 2015), that proceeds both theoretically and empirically.
Pedagogy is thus defined as an empirical science or more precisely as a science of experiences
(Brinkmann 2016b). Learning, education and education (Erziehung) are examined as modes of
experience in their physical, emotional, sensual and social dimensions.
The central concepts of Bildung, learning and education (Erziehung) are precisely defined. For
Humboldt, Bildung means an interplay between man and the world in which an experience
takes place that changes man as a whole (Humboldt 1969): a transformation or a reversal
(periagoge). While language is an excellent medium of education in Humboldt's work, from
today’s view embodiment, sociality and foreignness are seen as important further dimensions
of experiences of Bildung and education. Phenomenological theories of Bildung and learning
are based on the idea of a decentralised subject. In the intergenerational relationship between
child and adult, aspects of foreignness and otherness step in the foreground (Lippitz 2003). In
the experience of Bildung, in transformation and in learning as re-learning, a great importance
is attributed to negative experiences
6. Negative experience in learning: educational experience
Phenomenological Research in Education developed a genuinely phenomenological theory of
learning as relearning (cf. Buck 2018, Meyer-Drawe 2008, Lippitz 1989, Brinkmann 2012).
Here, learning is regarded as an experience, in which someone makes an experience through
something specific or through someone specific (cf. Meyer-Drawe 2008). Negative
experiences play a prominent role in this theory of learning. They are not to be understood in
the everyday sense as bad experiences that are opposed to good or positive experiences.
Rather, they describe a specific understanding of negativity, that lies beyond the dualistic
notion of good and bad and that emphasizes the productive potentials of negativity.
Husserls analysis of intentionality shows that the horizon-structure of experience is
connected to the relation between “fulfillment” or “disappointment” of anticipation (Buck,
1981, p. 50). The intention within experience is directed towards something or someone in
the future in a mode of anticipation. Learning thus takes place in the tension between knowing
that, knowing how (Wissen und Können) and not-knowing that and not knowing-how (Nicht-
Wissen, Nicht-Können) (cf. Rödel 2018). Socrates, Plato and Aristotle already knew this.
If what was anticipated is not realized, the learner faces an irritation by experiencing a
difference between the present experience and previous experiences. In learning through
experience, these negative instances are encountered as moments of not-knowing-that, not-
knowing-how, as failures, interruptions, moments of forgetting and unreadiness-to-hand
(“Unzuhandenheit”, Heidegger, 2001, p. 72). An interspace, or a space in-between emerges.
This space should not be seen from the endpoint, but from the present of the experiencer and
learner himself. An interspace opens up between knowing that and not knowing that and
between knowing how and not knowing how. It is a lived experience of “foreignness(cf.
Benner 2019). This experience of foreignness as a negative experience,a pathic experience, as
something that happens to someone: it occurs, steps out of the order, befalls oneself and
irritates what is familiar to us, what we know of or what we know how to do (cf. Waldenfels
2004, p. 164). It is a fleeting experience, as Gadamer makes clear with reference to Aristotle's
metaphor of the fleeing army in Nicomachean Ethics.
Negative experiences as well as irritating and disappointing experiences, point back to the
self- and world-relation of the learner. The structure of experience is given a new index
(Husserl). It is transformed. Therefore, we no longer know how we perceived the world when
we could not yet walk or how we experienced a supermarket when we could not yet read. The
experience of Bildung is therefore a transformational experience based on negative moments
of disappointment and irritation. It is elementarily connected with a sense of foreignness and
with the temporally indicated space in-between. In this temporal and social perspective,
phenomenological and hermeneutic theory of learning differs significantly from traditional
psychological theories of cumulative learning or from cognitivist competence theory.
A phenomenological theory of learning defines learning
as an experience, in which something specific is learned from others
as a negative experience, in which anticipations are disappointed, irritated and shaken
as an intermediate space between knowing that and not-knowing that, knowing how
and not knowing how
as re-learning and re-practicing, in which the relationship between self and world is
transformed and the structure of experience is re-indexed.
7. Phenomenology of shame
In the following, I would like to describe the previous reflections on emotion, Bildung and
learning using the example of shame. I want to point again to the example of the chemistry
lesson that I presented at the beginning.
7.a. Life-world orientation in the feeling of shame (Schamgefühl)
As soon as the girl in the example is called to the blackboard, physical reactions become
apparent: Widened eyes, tense smile, redness of the cheeks, lowered gaze. These are known
to all of us as possible expressions of shame. We said earlier: In the feeling of shame, one's
own relation to oneself is experienced. The self-relation is experienced in a pathic way: one
wants to sink into the ground. This embodied self-feeling experiences the vulnerability of one's
own self. At the same time, it arises in front of others who are present or in front of imaginary
others, more precisely: in the face of and in response to the gaze of others (Sartre 1991).
Shame is both a subjective-personal and a social feeling. In the lived experience of shame,
one's own self-relation is experienced as a crisis.
Shame is related to one's own nakedness, to the bodily experience of "nudity" that is hidden
from the gaze of others. This embodied self-relation characterizes and distinguishes shame as
an imposition and burden. The student is expected to present herself, to show herself, to
present her knowledge and skills to the public. She is expected to show herself in front of the
gaze and remarks of the other students. But one’s own does (das Eigene im Unterschied zum
Fremden) that stand in relation the foreign not want to enter the public sphere (cf. Hans Lipps
1941, p. 33). One's own does not want to be displayed and judged, or even to be exposed. It
must be masked. Here, the anthropological meaning of the mask is revealed. The mask (Latin:
persona) prevents the private from becoming public, the hidden from becoming visible. The
mask guarantees the person's own (das Eigene). Without mask, there is no personality
(Plessner 1970). From Plato to Lipps, the feeling of shame is therefore seen as the beginning
of self-consciousness (cf. Lipps 1041, p. 43). Shame has an elementary function in the
formation of identity, that always remains volatile, precarious and unstable. The reversal of
the Eurocentric prejudices I mentioned before manifests itself at this point: it is not reason
and autonomy forming the beginning of self-relation and identity, but the feeling of shame as
the "guardian" of the ego and one's identity.
The reserve of those who are shy and shameful illustrates not only the embodiment of shame,
but also the gender aspect of shame. The crisis-like nature of the embodied and gender based
self-relation is experienced as particularly strong in times of physical maturation and
development in adolescence - the reactions of the boys, their suggestive smirks and their
shouts reinforce this once again. The student tidies her sweater, she feels, as we say in
German, "uncomfortable in her skin". Embodiment, its gender aspect and its visibility as
central moments of shame, are closely interwoven.
7.b. The explorative and evaluative function of the feeling of shame
I would like to extend this phenomenological analysis further with regard to the temporality
of the feeling of shame (Schamgefühl). The presence of the feeling of shame in its embodied-
sexually delicate character is apparent in the gaze of others - we have seen this in our example.
The presence of shame is thus related to a possible future: as a feeling of a border, of not
wanting to reveal one's own in public and one's own hidden from gazes. The feeling of shame
is preventive, sometimes even prohibitive. Shame can therefore occur in the preliminary
stages of a possible embarrassment in order to prevent it. In this respect, shame is also a sense
of anticipation of which no representational concept is possible. This is where the above-
mentioned orientation function of feelings becomes obvious.
We said earlier that the norms and values of culture, society or institutions articulate
themselves in the gaze of others. If I am ashamed of others, then I am ashamed of myself
through experiencing their values as my own. The student experiences a norm without being
its author. The social and institutional norms of the school are performance standards that
the teacher, but also the other students, restitute. They are also norms of knowing that and
knowing how (Wissen und Können), that are ought to be presented here publicly. By
experiencing these norms and values in shame as one's own, they are evaluated. They are
experienced as something offensive (in the embodied-genderly sense) or as something
valuable (in the sense of performance) or unworthy (mistake, not knowing how or that). The
potential evaluation by others and the anticipation of the potential failure creates an
embarrassment of not being able to fulfill these demands (on the difference between
embarrassment and shame see Lipps 1941, p. 31f.). The impending nakedness is therefore not
only an embodied-genderly one, but also morally-evaluative. The situation can therefore be
grasped in regard to senses or feelings, which are experienced as possible threats to one’s
self-esteem. This development refers to values and norms, in our example to performance
standards of knowing and not-knowing, of knowing how or not-knowing how. The feeling of
shame thus also has an evaluative function with regard to one's own evaluations of the
situation in the face of cultural and social norms and values. The student seems to be ashamed
(self-relation) of something (not knowing that, not knowing how) in front of others (norm and
value reference).
To summarize: The experience of shame
is at the same time a subjective-personal and a social feeling, that orientates lifeworld
plays between visibility and concealment: the own wants to hide and conceal itself
from the public
stands at the beginning of self-consciousness and identity
is defined embodied-sexually and morally-valuing
foreign norms are experienced as one's own
refers to self-esteem in a crisis-ridden and reflexive way
acts anticipatory, exploratively and potentially prohibitive
8. Negativity of the feeling of shame (Schamgefühl)
Let's try to describe the feeling in further variations. How exactly does the judgement take
place in shame? Or to put it another way, what is the relation between one's own and the
foreign, between one's own self-esteem and the evaluation of others who embody foreign
norms in their gazes? The self-relation is also a self-esteem due to the evaluative character of
the situation. This is experienced in a crisis-like and emotional-reflexive way. The feeling of
shame thus exhibits a basal reflexivity or a proto-reflexivity that is pre-rational and pre-
predicative (cf. Brinkmann 2019).
In general, the crisis of the self or of self-esteem in the feeling of shame is interpreted as
failure. The self-esteem in this sense "fails" (Schäfer/Thomson 2009, p. 10), an "alienation"
takes place in the objectifying gaze of the other (Sartre 1991). These interpretations come
from a Hegelian reading of recognition and negativity. Then, in a certain or specific negation
(bestimmte Negation), a position (the subject) is challenged, crossed, and dialectically put into
a new state or condition. According to the logic of the dialectic of master and servant, that
Hegel develops in his "Phenomenology of Spirit" and that he identifies as the basic structure
of recognition (Hegel 1986, p. 145; 155), shame is associated with submission to others. The
gaze is thus the medium of non-recognition and an expression of power or social inferiority.
Most theories of shame and recognition stand in this Hegelian tradition - from Norbert Elias'
"Process of Civilization" (1997), Sartre's analysis of shame in "Being and Nothingness" (L'Être
et le néant,1991) to current theories of recognition for example by Axel Honneth (2014), the
successor of Habermas in Frankfurt. This perspective is also frequently invoked in
phenomenology, for example in Hilge Landweer’s work (Demmerling and Landweer 2007).
But this theory does not do a phenomenology of shame justice. Shame, the feeling of shame
and the constitutive ambiguity of the space in-between cannot be adequately captured
neither with the model of hierarchizing subordination and submission nor with the model of
socio-political struggles and fights (Benner 2017). One can, for example, be ashamed in front
of others without "knowing what one has done wrong". The key factor is "that one does not
feel perceived by others in the way one wants to be perceived" (Schlossberger 2006, p. 269).
There is no dialectical turnover due to a certain or specific negation. Instead, I would like to
argue: There is an existential negativity, a crisis, a conflict in self-esteem and the sense of the
self: a foreigness that is existentially experienced in the gaze of others and then transformed
into the foreigness and otherness of one's own self. Foreign perspective and self-perspective
become intertwined. The imposition of shame consists precisely in exposing oneself to foreign
values against the background of one's own values, these don’t have to be dialectically
conveyed or suspended in a simple submission. The non-dialectic negativity of the feeling of
shame plays between one's own and the foreign, between (non-)recognition of others and
(non-)recognition of one's own, between the visible and the hidden in an interspace. The
feeling of shame is therefore more the awareness of a border, of a difference in an
intermediate area. It is "the feeling of one's own existence in its dichotomy" (Bernet 2003, p.
This axiological function of the feeling of shame is based on an elementary embodied and
existential structure of reflection: the relation to oneself in the face and in response to others
(cf. Brinkmann 2019). This proto-reflexive relationship also "plays" in an intermediate area.
No logical or rational judgement is made here about a non-rational feeling or about "body
sensations". The cognitivist appraisal theories (Scheerer, cf. Huber 2018, p. 96) treat feelings
as the counterpart to reason, that is submitted to a cognitive evaluation and reflection
process. This can´t grasp the specific inner ,logic of shame in its personal, social and
pedagogical dimensions. Against the background of the phenomenological analysis I just
presented, it should have become clear that feelings and emotions - in contrast to cognitivist
views - have their own rationality, which manifests itself in their orientational and evaluational
function. The intermediate and existential sphere of which we are talking here must therefore
not be closed off in a rationalistic way. The Bildungs-function of feelings is closely related to
the more precise definition of this intermediate area in relation to learning experiences. In the
following, I will try to make this clear by using the example of shame.
The non-dialectic negativity of the feeling of shame opens a space in-between,
between self and foreign
between (non-)recognition of others and (non-)recognition of one's own
between the visible and the hidden
it also enables a proto-reflexive and existential reference to self-esteem and to a
feeling and sense of the self
9. Negativity of shame: the beginning of Bildung and learning
We have explored two functions of the feeling of shame: the social function of shame, to be
able to prohibitively avoid injuries, as well as the moral and existential function of shame, to
experience a difference between bodily-genderly and one's own norm values. Now they are
to be expanded by a perspective on Bildung. I would like to point out a connection between
the overwhelming feeling of shame as a pathic one on the one hand and the negative
experience of learning described above on the other.
The student's feeling of shame in our example is socially structured by the situation, the
institution and the gaze of others. The social field (Bourdieu) proves to be one of social
distinctions under the special conditions of the school in which the studentsprovided
academic performance is evaluated and certified. If we now look at the first-person
perspective, it becomes clear that these norms are experienced existentially as one's own.
They immediately provoke embodied reactions (blushing). In shame, the own articulates itself
in response to the foreign, to foreign demands and gazes, from which it tries to hide itself and
from which it tries to evade.
In the feeling of shame, not only judgements are experienced in the horizon of a social, societal
or institutional norm, but also evaluations are carried out. In the case of the student from our
example, these evaluations relate to her relation to knowledge and ability. Against the
background of the theory of negativity, it now becomes clear that the prohibitive function of
shame can also be defined with regard to the experiences of knowingthat, knowing-how and
not-knowing-that or not-knowing-how (Wissen und Können). The student is embarrassed
because she does not "know" whether what she knows is wrong or right. In the feeling of
shame, the possibility of not-knowing-that or not-knowing-how is experienced and
anticipated as one's own.
In our example, the feeling of shame is not caused by an insult or a diminution in value by the
teacher. It rather arises immediately with the "call". This call is a conventional form of
"counteracting education" (entgegenwirkende Erziehung, Schleiermacher) which, while
preserving the personality of the person to be educated, opens up the possibility of revealing
mistakes, ignorance and incompetence. This happens because we know that the process of
learning begins with a negative experience. In this sense, the possibility of Bildung opens up
in the context of shame. The feeling of shame can thus be described as the effect of an
educational act. This educational act can be described not as a submission or as non
recognition. I want to argue that it can bee seen as a practice of care, which deals tactfully and
adequately with the individual personality. It does not evade the responsibility to initiate the
learning process. Education as care knows that learning begins with negativity and that shame
therefore has a constitutive and productive significance for the process of learning and
This care (Fürsorge) does not aim to determine a student’s not-knowing-that or not-knowig-
how with the aim that the student is forced to confess this publicly - as Socrates does in the
Platonic dialogues. Rather, care intends to open up a negative experience as the beginning of
a motion of Bildung. The one who is ashamed knows that he or she might be missing certain
knowing-that or knowing-how. Yet, he or she also does not know what the right knowledge is,
although he or she anticipates it. Here, too, the earlier mentioned intermediate and existential
space between one's own and the foreign opens up. This can be described in a pedagogical
situation as a space between knowing-that and knowing-how and not-kowing-that and not-
knowing-how (Wissen, Nicht-Wissen, Können, Nicht Können). It can therefore be said: The
Bildungs- function of shame is "mediated through a negativity that is still open and undefined
(...)", which "proceeds from an acceptance of the negative. Neither can negativity be simply
seen a simple turn to a positive outcome " (Liebsch, quoted from Benner 2017, p. 143). In this
interspace of shame between knowing and not-knowing the possibility of a lived experience
of Bildung opens up. The educational function of shame therefore corresponds with its
orientation function in the social field and the moral evaluation function in the embodied-
genderly field. In this way, it becomes clear: In the feeling of shame, Bildung arises through
emotions and at the same time, the specific meaning of the feeling of shame enables a Bildung
of emotion insofar as learning experience can begin with "negative" experiences.
Finally, it can be stated: The Bildungs-function of shame
consists in opening up a space between knowing-that and knowing-how as well as not-
knowing-that and not-knowing-how.
can be seen in a negative experience as the beginning of a motion of Bildung
is evoked by an aspect of care, which tactfully and adequately responds to the
respective personality and therefore knows that learning begins with negativity.
Thus, shame can have a constitutive and productive meaning for learning.
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This paper aims to provide arguments for reconsidering the specificity of the sports experience as a context where emotions play a fundamental role from an educational perspective. The starting point of this work comes from the philosophical statement which characterizes sport as ‘a sweet tension of uncertainty of outcome’. It seems evident that sport deals with emotions both for spectators and for athletes: firstly, emotions are a peculiar form of movement; secondly, they arise from the interaction between human beings and the world aiming for modifying their being-the-world. By means of a phenomenological analysis of ‘sweet tension’, concepts such as uncertainty, intersubjectivity, ambiguity, and horizon emerge. Results highlight the undeniable bond between sport and emotions capable of laying the foundation for a theory of learning of and through emotions in sport. Athletes experience these learning processes both when they are motivated to learn technical/tactical skills, and when they compete with others during sports contests. Moreover, the latter has the characteristic to generate and amplify emotional charge. Finally, in the sports contests with others, athletes are called to test and challenge their skills, and in doing so, they build their identity both as athletes and as persons.
This volume provides systematic, interdisciplinary, and intercultural impulses for a phenomenological pedagogy of emotions, feelings, and moods without subordinating them to the logocentric dualism of emotion and rationality. Starting from foundational and cultural perspectives on pedagogical relations of education, learning, and Bildung, specific emotions in individual studies, as well as different approaches of important representatives of phenomenological research on emotions are presented. The contributions include pedagogical, philosophical, and empirical approaches to feelings, emotions, and moods, highlighting their fundamental importance and productivity for learning, Bildung, and education in different pedagogical institutions and fields. The editors Prof. Dr. Malte Brinkmann teaches General Pedagogy at the Institute for Educational Studies of the Humboldt-University of Berlin. Johannes Türstig and Martin Weber-Spanknebel are research assistants in the Department of General Pedagogy at the Humboldt-University of Berlin.
Full-text available The article provides a systematic overview of the most important approaches in German phenomenological pedagogy to the present: Fischer, Bollnow, Buck, Loch, Rombach, Fink, Schütz, Lippitz and Meyer-Drawe. Phenomenological pedagogy as both theory and empirical research aims at redefining traditional theories of Bildung, learning and education in empirical and systematic ways. They are seen as processes of experience, which take place in a horizon of phenomena of (inter-)generationality, embodiment, responsivity, foreignness and power. The phenomenological methodology combines the question of the subject matter with the methods of description, reduction and variation as guiding concepts. This phenomenological approach differs from hermeneutic and social-theoretical methods. In recent times, epistemological questions are expanded to a genealogical dimension, and methodological approaches are enriched by ethnographical and videographical instruments.
Full-text available
Die konventionelle Doppelung von Pädagogik und Erziehungswissenschaft muss unter einer erfahrungstheoretischen und -wissenschaftlichen Perspektive nicht mehr aufrecht erhalten werden.. Erziehungswissenschaft richtet sich gleichermaßen reflexiv auf Theorie, Empirie und Praxis, in denen sich auf je unterschiedliche Weise Erfahrung artikuliert.
Full-text available
Full-text available
Der Aufsatz versucht einen Beitrag zu einer grundlagentheoretischen Bestimmung und Differenzierung qualitativer empirischer Forschung in der Pädagogik zu geben. Es wird eine phänomenologisch orientierte Theorie pädagogischer Erfahrung und eine Methodologie ethnographischer und videographischer Praxis unter einer bildungstheoretischen Perspektive vorgestellt. Drei Fragen werden beantwortet: Was ist pädagogische Erfahrung im Lernen und Lehren? Wie kann man pädagogische Erfahrung empirisch rekonstruieren? Wie lassen sich pädagogische Praxen mit den Mitteln ethnographischer Videographie erforschen? Pedagogical experience The paper contributes to a basic theoretical description and differentiation of qualitative research in educational studies. It introduces a phenomenologically oriented theory of pedagogical experience and a special methodology of ethnographical and videographic research practice, both in the perspective of theory of Bildung. Three paper key questions are central to this reflection: What is pedagogical experience in learning and teaching? How can pedagogical experience be reconstructed from empiric data? How can ethnographic videography contribute to researching pedagogical practice?
Es gehört zur Tradition von Gesamtdarstellungen pädagogischer Theorierichtungen und von Kompendien über pädagogische bzw. erziehungswissenschaftliche Forschungsmethoden, „die“ phänomenologische Methode als relativ eigenständige innerhalb der geisteswissenschaftlichen, evtl. sogar in enger Nachbarschaft mit empirischen Methoden aufzuführen, seitdem die Pädagogik zu Anfang unseres Jahrhunderts ihren Anteil an der „phänomenologischen Bewegung“ nahm (Spiegelberg 1965).
Es wird zunächst in wenigen Grundzügen der Beitrag der Entwicklungspsychologie und Psychoanalyse zur Frage der Bildung der Gefühle, ihrer Differenzierung und Modulierung (Regulation) in Interaktionen skizziert. In einem zweiten Schritt soll eine phänomenologische Mikroanalyse einer Videoszene aus einem Forschungsprojekt in einer Krippe Aufschluss darüber geben, wie in konkreten Situationen Gefühle in Interaktionen in einer Kleingruppe artikuliert und kommuniziert werden und welche Rolle sie für die Deutung und Bewertung komplexer und dynamischer Situationen spielen. Welche Herausforderungen entstehen daraus für pädagogische Fachkräfte in Bezug auf die Bildung der Gefühle in früher Kindheit? Abstract First of all, the contribution of developmental psychology and psychoanalysis to the question of the development of emotions, their differentiation as well as their regulation within interactions will briefly be outlined. Essentially, a phenomenological microanalysis of a video scene from a research project in a day nursery gives information about how emotions in interactions within a small group are being articulated and communicated in practice and which role they play for the interpretation and evaluation of complex and dynamic situations. Which challenges arise from this for pedagogic specialists regarding the development of emotions on the early childhood?
Zur Phänomenologie von Lust und Scham. Schriften aus dem Nachlass
  • Christian Bernet
Bernet, Christian (2003): Zur Phänomenologie von Lust und Scham. Schriften aus dem Nachlass. In: Henckmann, Wolfhardt/ Leonardy, Heinz/ Bermes Christian (Hg.): Über Vernunft und Gefühl: Schelers Phänomenologie des emotionalen Lebens. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann. S. 25-35.
Phänomenologische Erziehungswissenschaft von Ihren Anfängen bis heute. Eine Anthologie. Band 4 der Reihe
  • Malte Brinkmann
Brinkmann, Malte (2018b): Phänomenologische Erziehungswissenschaft von Ihren Anfängen bis heute. Eine Anthologie. Band 4 der Reihe "Phänomenologische Erziehungswissenschaft". Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
Existenz und Coexistenz. Originalausgabe. Herausgegeben von Anette Hilt
  • Eugen Fink
Fink, Eugen (2018): Existenz und Coexistenz. Originalausgabe. Herausgegeben von Anette Hilt. Freiburg, München: Karl Alber.